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10 Things to Make Being Sick at College Better

Being sick sucks, but it’s even worse when you’re all alone at college and no longer have the helpful hands of your parents to aid you in your recovery. It is strongly recommended that students stay home if they begin to feel under the weather. On top of this, COVID-19 tests should also be a precautionary measure. Being sick is a tough position to be in, so hopefully, it can be made a little easier. Here are a couple of tips to make being sick at college a little less miserable.


For me, ibuprofen is a staple whenever I’m sick. It helps with body aches, headaches, and fever reduction. Overall, it’s an easy over-the-counter medication available to almost anyone. To get the best results, it’s important to stay within the recommended dosage. In most cases, ibuprofen or a similar medication is crucial to help you feel a little more like your healthy self.

UHS ‘Get Well Bag’

These are a staple for any UMass student feeling under the weather. During times like these, if you’re feeling sick, it’s important to get checked out. Usually after a doctor’s visit at the University Health Services (at 150 Infirmary Way), they will send you home with a goody bag full of essentials including cough drops, hand sanitizing wipes, and even a miniature travel thermometer.

Dining Hall ‘get well’ Meals

The dining halls at UMass offer a phenomenal ‘Get Well’ meal for when you must go without your mom’s chicken noodle soup. They put together a care package including hot soup, crackers, fresh fruit, ginger ale, water, juice, toast and jelly, and jello. They’re super easy to order. Contact the management staff at whichever dining hall is closest to your dorm and place a pick-up order. You can then send a friend or roommate to pick it up for you with your UCard. In no time, you’ll be enjoying a nice homemade meal in the comfort of your room.


I know that being on a college campus is constantly GO GO GO, and sometimes it’s hard to stop with classes, clubs, and friends. But if you’re feeling a sore throat coming on or a bit of achiness, the best thing to do is rest, take a day off from classes, or stay in for a night. It’s better to get ahead of whatever your body is fighting than to suffer the consequences later. 

Stay Hydrated

You want to make sure that you provide your body with the correct nutrients. You might not feel like you want to eat or drink, but your body needs to gain the proper strength it needs to fight off the sickness you’re dealing with. Make sure you are almost constantly drinking water or some form of liquid. For me, anything with electrolytes — like Gatorade or Powerade — is beneficial when I’m feeling my lowest.

Get covid-19 Tested

If I was writing this two years ago, this suggestion wouldn’t even be a thing, however, now it seems like everyone’s life revolves around COVID-19. Sometimes, being on a college campus is like living in a petri dish. It’s important to try to stop the spread of whatever illness you might be dealing with. If you start to feel sick, visit the several COVID-19 testing locations on campus to grab a self-test kit and test yourself immediately so that you can eliminate COVID-19 as your potential illness. UMass has two locations on campus: one outside UHS and the other at the Campus Center, where you can both pick up and drop off your test.

Cough Drops

Feeling achy and congested isn’t fun, but it’s even worse when you have a sore throat. To help soothe a sore throat, take a couple of cough drops. They always seem to offer temporary relief from one of the many common symptoms of being sick.

Warm Liquids

Along with cough drops, warm water, tea, or even coffee can help soothe a throat and make it less painful to do the most basic things, like swallowing or eating.


Honey can be added to just about anything. When you’re sick, you can take it alone, or you can even put it in your warm water or tea. Honey has natural antibacterial properties that allow it to heal your sore throat and reduce inflammation. 

Add Moisture to the Air

I know this may be a difficult one to include when you’re living in a college dorm. However, if you already happen to have a humidifier, they help tremendously with your respiratory system, providing moisturized air that can help with any type of congestion you may be experiencing. If you don’t own a humidifier (like most of us), you can always hop in a nice warm shower, and the hot air from the water will help clear up your sinuses just as well.

Being sick when you’re not home is definitely the last thing anyone wants, but I hope some of these tips help ease whatever you’re fighting and help you get back on your feet sooner rather than later! Get well soon. <3

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Abigail Hartman

U Mass Amherst '23

Abby's a Junior with a psychology major and a Spanish minor, and she loves anything true crime related!
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