How to Kick Your Cold in College

Being sick in college may just be one of the worst things. When you’re surrounded by your friends 24/7 and living with a roommate, it is easy to pick up whatever germs are around. The communal lifestyle of college makes it 10 times easier to get sick than when you are at home. Last semester, I was sick all the time, from the common cold to an uncomfortable cough, it was non-stop! So, after a whole semester of being sick, I’ve picked up a few tricks to help kick your cold:

Prevention!

Obviously, the best way to combat a cold is to prevent one from developing in the first place. It can be hard to do, however, with some quick steps, it is totally feasible. I’ve started taking vitamin C supplements and drinking tea with honey consistently. According to an article by Harvard Medical School, vitamin C was found to "reduce the duration of cold symptoms by an average of 8% in adults and 14% in children." It is known to have cold prevention powers and should be taken consistently in order to gain the benefits, not just when a cold starts. Honey also is known to have healing properties and soothes sore throats.

With college, may come going out to parties or frats. In New England, it can get extremely cold, especially late at night, so make sure you bring a jacket with you anytime you are walking outside! It may not look the cutest, but always choose health over fashion! Here are some basic reminders to keep you healthy: make sure you’re washing your hands before and after you eat, clean your room, and avoid touching door handles. And wash your water bottle! Germs build up so easily inside, so wash it at least once a week.

tea cup with tea bagWhen you’re sick!

When you do inevitably get sick, there are a few key items to help get over your cold. My number one tip is getting a humidifier. Dorm room air can get extremely dry which does not do any favors for you. A portable personal humidifier like this one from Amazon is so worth the investment. It helps you sleep easier and makes the air a lot more comfortable for your breathing and your skin. Another good investment is quality tissues. When you’re lying in bed all day or are on the move, you’ll have to blow your nose over and over. Quality tissues with lotion or aloe-infused in them are a savior for your nose!

While of course, you need to stock up on cold medicine like DayQuil and NyQuil, home remedies are also an essential and more natural way to combat a cold. I always keep a jar of salt in my room to gargle with saltwater. Gargling 2-3 times a day with warm water and about a ½ teaspoon of salt is said to ease cold symptoms as well as generally keeping you healthier during cold and flu season according to this New York Times column. Saltwater gargling truly does help your throat feel so much better. I make sure to gargle if I even feel a little discomfort in my throat. 

To help build up your immune system, make sure you’re staying hydrated throughout the day. Water is essential to recovery. Also, make sure you are eating healthy dinners at the dining hall, with lots of vegetables and protein. I know it's hard to be mindful of what you eat when a big bowl of mac and cheese seems like the way to go, but healthy foods will help you get healthier and feel overall better in the long run!

Crudites

The best way to recover is by taking just a couple of days for yourself. Secluding yourself from the hustle and bustle of college life can be difficult, but oh so worth it. Being sick in college is hard to avoid, so do yourself a favor and take care of yourself! Relax, read, watch some Netflix, and drink a lot of tea!

Woman holding a white mug with breakfast food and a book open on a bed

 

Images are courtesy of the HC Media Library