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Anna Schultz / Her Campus

Spooky Scary Sniffling Coughs: Staying Flu Free in Freezing Weather

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Current pandemic aside, there are still several ways to get sick from going out. There are also measures that you can take for yourself and others before and after a party. That being said, only plan to go out if you are vaccinated. No one enjoys being sick with any sort of flu or cold. Do not ever go out if you are not feeling well.

Staying hydrated is very important for your overall personal wellbeing. It is especially important if you intend to go out. Being in a crowded and enclosed area while dancing and possibly drinking alcohol is a recipe for dehydration. Staying hydrated can also limit your risk of alcohol poisoning by allowing your liver to process it slower.

While Gatorade is always an option, there are better options out there. Gatorade zero is better since it is just hydration without the extra loads of sugar. 7/11 sells their own off-brand zero sugar electrolyte drink. The best option is always going to be Pedialyte. If you are in a pinch and do not have the space for big bottles of electrolytes, most stores sell powdered packets of electrolyte and hydration powder. I highly recommend drinking some form of electrolyte drink before and especially after going out.

Over-the-counter painkillers are helpful as well. But be cautious with them. If you are taking medication, especially opioids, it is not safe to take painkillers and alcohol on top of medication. If you are of age and plan on drinking alcohol, some over-the-counter pain killers may cause stomach and liver issues if used excessively. Ibuprofen can eliminate pain and get rid of a fever.

Ibuprofen is generally safe for pre and post-alcohol consumption without upsetting the liver or stomach, as long as it is not taken with alcohol excessively. Advil and Ibuprofen are the same things, just branded differently. Both are safe to take moderately with a limited amount of alcohol. It is not recommended to take Tylenol with alcohol. The main ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen, and that itself increases the risk of liver failure.

Mix that with consumption of alcohol, and the risk is even greater. Aspirin with alcohol can cause stomach issues, especially if taken frequently and excessively. Vitamin C is a great immunity supplement. Most stores carry vitamin c powders and tablets to mix with water. It is best to take it before going out or if you feel a cold coming up.

If you are feeling a cold forming, hydrating really helps to flush it out. Drinking tea, in general, helps with colds, but especially herbal tea. Most stores carry pre-packaged herbal tea bags. Soup is always a good option. It really is a cure-all for anything cold and flu-related. There are generic-brand Neti Pots available at most stores; they really unblock any congestion.

It is okay to miss an event. The best way to get better is to avoid going out and drinking alcohol. Yours and others’ wellbeing are the top priority. Keep in mind that we have all been inside and masked up due to the ongoing pandemic. If you or anyone you had contact with has COVID-19 symptoms, please be sure to get tested and isolated as soon as possible. For VCU students, the Rite Aid near campus offers testing. Be sure to look up VCU testing and report your symptoms if you do test positive, and stay inside!

Salma is a freshman at VCU. She is currently undecided, but considering majoring in journalism. She loves iced coffee and a comforting gilmore girls marathon.
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