Sick of Being Sick at College

Camp Yale started a little bit over three weeks ago and everyone I know is already sick. We haven’t hit those plummeting New Haven temperatures yet, and it has only rained a handful of times. So, I blame the fevers, coughs, and sore throats entirely on the fact that college is DIRTY.

Last year, I got hand foot and mouth in September (gross, I know), followed by mono in December, and the flu in March.

When I went to Yale health for the mysterious rash that had enveloped my entire body this time last year, I waited for hours before being handed a box of masks and told that I would need to come back in a few hours for a feeding tube when my throat closed up. My throat never closed up, but I did spend the next two days in the isolation of my 7 by 11 dorm room, letting the rash do its thing.

Mono hit me right at the start of winter reading period. I did all my studying and wrote all my papers from my dorm room again, barely leaving my bed. To be fair, I didn’t know I had mono until I finally made it home and went to a doctor (I wasn’t about to have Yale health offer me a feeding tube again), but the mix of fatigue and fever were pretty good indications that something was off.

In March, I was back in my room a third time. With a 105-degree fever, I was down for the count. I had an English paper do the morning after a night of intense chills and uncomfortable sweats; it is safe to say I didn’t do too well on that one.

All this is to say, the creeping sore throat I have currently is a reminder that somehow, I have not learned my lesson. It is close to impossible to fully avoid getting sick at college. That being said, here are some tips that will give you the best shot of avoiding Yale health. Firstly, wash your hands. I know it can be annoying, but at least put some hand sanitizer in your backpack for before meals or after you have touched your seventh Yale gate of the day. Secondly, get enough sleep. You will feel happier and healthier in general, and it will give your body a chance to quickly beat whatever is brewing. Thirdly, drink enough water, and if you feel something coming on, turn to the vitamin C and zinc. They can actually make a difference. And lastly, as hard as it is, try to avoid sharing drinks. You may be swapping spit anyway, but at least limit it to people you actually really like. To a year sans hand, foot and mouth!