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The frat flu, the campus cold, the dorm disease–whatever name you call it by, there’s always some mystery bug that’s not flu, not strep, and in recent years, not covid making the rounds on campus. My freshman year at UT was like a toddler’s first year of preschool–suddenly exposed to all the other kids’ germs, I had a constant case of the sniffles, with one particularly memorable bout of bronchitis hitting me during my first ever round of college midterms. I quickly realized that being sick at college is very different from being sick at home: as much as I was able to guilt my roommate into helping me out, there’s nothing like Mom being there for you when you’re feeling under the weather. So if you, like me, have found yourself hacking up a lung this fall, here are my certified tips for getting through illness at school.

  1. Take advantage of UHS–if you’re able–to get tests to figure out what you do or don’t have. I was sick for about a week in October, and with my insurance, it only cost me $10 to get tested for strep and flu in addition to covid. Plus, I was able to get a telehealth appointment with a doctor and the tests done within two hours of calling. 
  2. Take precautions to ensure you don’t get the flu or, of course, covid. Get vaccinated–with insurance, UT offers $10 flu shots AND a sticker–get tested, and wear your mask indoors. Don’t share drinks, food, toothbrushes, or anything else that’s going to go into your mouth with other people. Getting the flu in a shoebox dorm is a miserable experience, and your roommate won’t appreciate it if they have to share that experience with you. 
  3. Before you come to college, stock up on your supply of medicine so you don’t have to make a run to CVS while you’re sick. Before I moved into my dorm, I went to Walmart and bought a plastic tub to fill with my first aid supplies and all other medicines I thought I might need: Pepto Bismol (an essential for the dining hall), ibuprofen, Dayquil, and cough drops, to name a few. I refill the tub every year before the semester starts to ensure that if I get sick, I’ll have what I need on hand. 
  4. Always keep your favorite sick day foods in your pantry. For me, that’s Campbell’s chicken soup, saltines, and blue Powerade Zero (the soup must be Campbell’s, and the Powerade must be blue). If I’m sick, I don’t want to go cough all over everyone at the Target in Dobie and scrounge around for sick day essentials on shelves always picked clean during flu season. 
  5. Call your mom. The last time I got sick, I got a box of Tiff’s Treats delivered to my doorstep. While not necessarily a sick day essential, it’s always nice to talk to her and to know that she cares. And to remind myself that I’m still her favorite child. 
Lea Cantu

Texas '23

hey y'all! i'm a junior plan ii and english major from fredericksburg, tx. fun fact about me: i'm allergic to oxi clean stain remover.
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