A Guide to Overcoming Illness in College

It has been a pretty warm year here in Virginia, so that means that it has also been a bad year for sicknesses to spread. When it gets cold, the bacteria in the air that are causing people to get sick are killed since bacteria cannot survive very cold temperatures. Everyone gets sick in college at least once. Here is a guide to help you handle it.

1. Consider preventable treatment.

Prevention is one of the most important things during a season when illness is running rampant. Vaccinations are very important, although it is understandable if you are allergic to some of the contents of the vaccination. I cannot emphasize the importance of washing your hands throughout flu season and the winter. One of the easiest ways to keep yourself healthy is to wash your hands, however, many people fail to do so on a regular basis. Another good prevention method for any illness is to avoid those who are already sick with the virus, as coming into contact with the virus is not a good way of avoiding an illness.

2. Go to student health.

I know, I know. Student health seems to, at times, be the bane of everyone’s existence either due to the long wait times or the fact that they do not take walk-ins. However, student health has one huge plus side that many other doctors’ offices do not have - it is free. You heard me right, student health is free for students at most universities.

3. Stay home.

After going to student health and getting checked out, pick up your prescription (if given one) and head on home. The best thing you can do when you are sick is to get out of the cold and rest. If you are contagious, your doctor should give you a note that you can send to your professor that gets you out of class until you are no longer contagious to those around you. You need to adhere to these guidelines and quarantine yourself. You should let any roommates that could potentially be at risk for exposure know before you come home to give them time to leave the residence or prepare for your arrival.

4. Take medication.

If your doctor chooses to prescribe you a medication, then you should follow all of the directions given with that medication. When certain medications, like antibiotics, are not finished completely, the bacteria that caused you to get sick can begin to regrow which means that you will be sick for longer.

5. Wash and disinfect all surfaces and items that you have come into contact with while ill.

After you are completely better, you should take the time to completely disinfect and sanitize your living space. The more time you wait, the more bacteria that can form and infect those living around you.

Everyone gets sick in college. Help yourself by taking care of yourself, and get better soon!

Cover Photo by Eleanor Ritzman