It happens to us all at some point--we get sick. And for those in college, it can be an even harder ordeal because this is the first time they’re away from home and loved ones who can take care of them! Most college students can come down with anything from the cold, flu, or even more serious cases of mononucleosis. Thankfully, most will just be feeling a little under the weather for a couple of days, and there are things you can do to help speed up your recovery!
We’ve put together a list of the essential checklist you should follow if you happen to fall sick--they’ll not only help you feel better, but they’ll protect your friends and classmates from coming down with a cold as well. You may miss your parents taking care of you, but you can definitely do this on your own!
Drink Those Fluids
It’s all about staying hydrated
So you woke up one morning with a sore throat and a horrible cough. You may have felt a little under the weather the night before, but you were certain that a good night’s sleep would make it all better. Unfortunately, this time you were wrong and you just woke up with a cold. It’s an awful feeling, because you just want to stay in bed, but you know you have responsibilities and classes to handle. The first thing you need to do is to ensure you get up and start to drink hydrating fluids. This means water, tea, and replenishing juices. If you happen to have an upset stomach as well, maybe stick to water and herbal or green tea--preferably with some soothing honey!
If you have a roommate, it’s also a good idea to make sure they know you’re going to be down for the count for a couple of days, so they can take the appropriate precautions for themselves. Don’t hesitate to ask them if they’ll help keep you stocked up on water and tea as well--because you’re in no condition to go out and about!
Get Plenty of Rest
Your body needs to recover, so give it time!
Right behind staying hydrated is ensuring that you get plenty of rest. If you wake up and take in some fluids--but still are overwhelmingly exhausted--that’s a sign to get back in bed. Your body knows what it needs, and when it’s under the weather, it needs extra rest. This means actual rest, so try to put the phone down and let your body start to repair itself. If you can’t fall asleep right away, consider putting on some relaxing music to help you drift off again. Or if it’s too bright in your dorm, use your handy eye mask and shut out that morning or afternoon sun.
Another relaxing way to help fall asleep is to use a diffuser with a calming scent such as lavender to help you drift off to much needed sleep. Try not to worry too much about your classes, and if you must, text a friend who is in the class to let them know you won’t be making it in today. Getting rest also means taking it easy throughout your day--so when you’re not sleeping, make sure to do restful things, such as catching up on Netflix, listening to music, or even reading your favorite book to help your body recover.
Sick Care Package
Because a care package can make everything better
You’ll definitely want to let your family know you’re feeling sick, that way they can send you a sickness care package! What better way for them to send you a big hug then with a care package that includes all the items you need to help feel better fast? Awesome care package ideas would include a hot tea assortment, hand sanitizer, instant soup, tissues, and immune system boosters such as Emergen-C or Airborne. Having these items sent your way means you won’t have to leave your dorm when you’re feeling sick, and potentially get others sick on campus as well. Items like hand sanitizers and Airborne will not only help you feel better fast, but will help prevent you getting sick in the future!
A care package means so much more when you include a get well card too--your parents would be there to take care of you if they could, but a card and some helpful items are a great way to close the distance a little!
Keep In Touch with Professors
Giving a little notice will go a long way
If you have to miss class (or a couple classes) that’s never a good thing, and chances are you’re going to be feeling a little anxious or worried that an absence could harm your grade. Don’t get ahead of yourself, professors understand that students get sick, and will really appreciate you not coming to their class when you have a cough, an upset stomach, and are an all around sickly mess!
It is common courtesy to let them know, however, and a simple email is just fine. If you have an early morning class that you had to miss because you woke up sick and needed the sleep, email them later in the day and let them know what happened. This is especially important if the class size is small, or if you’re working particularly close with a group of other students--just so they don’t think you’re bailing on your work.
Let them know if you’ll need to miss a couple of classes, and request an extension if you have any upcoming deadlines. This will also make them aware that you won’t be operating at 100% capacity for a while, and may need to turn in some assignments a little later than expected.
Protect Others with Good Hygiene
Keep yourself and those around you healthy
Although you unfortunately already have a cold, you can help to prevent its spread. This means keeping your roommate, friends, coworkers, and anyone else you come in contact with on a daily basis informed that you’re sick. Sometimes when we’re recovering from a sickness we forget that there’s a lot that can be done to prevent its spread--because no one wants an entire dorm floor coming down with the flu! It’s a good idea to isolate yourself as much as you can, but understandably, this is a dorm and you’ll need to use the shared bathroom of course. But while you’re contagious, keep your movements a minimum, and try to do studying in your room if possible.
You can also stock up on hand sanitizers and make sure that after you do touch shared items such as doorknobs or sink nozzles, you wipe them down with a Clorox wipe. This will help spread any sickness, and often is overlooked as a preventative measure. When you start to feel like yourself again, try to take it slow, and don’t rush to return to your daily routine. You want to make absolutely certain you’ve beaten your cold and aren’t still contagious!
Let the Campus Health Center Know
These professionals can help you feel better
If you’ve been battling your cold for a couple of days, you might be worried it’s going to turn into something worse like the flu--that’s why it’s always a good idea to get a checkup at the campus health center. They can verify that you actually do have a cold (huge stress relief!) or that you might be in fact coming down with something nastier like the flu. This is also a great preventative measure to help keep those around you safe too--once you find out for sure what you have you can better fight it off. They can assign you a prescription if that will help with your symptoms, or could refer you to a local doctor or hospital for additional tests if necessary.
If you had to miss classes, they can also write a note to say that you in fact did visit the health center and you legitimately should stay away from other students and out of class for a few days. Not only will they help you get better physically, they can also allay any fears that you might be getting sicker than you actually are--and that’s a huge load off your mind!
Call Your Friends or Family
Everyone likes a little time speaking to someone they love!
Although you already should have told your family at home that you’ve been sick, that doesn’t mean you can’t call them again! They would love to hear from you and see how you’re doing. It’s also always nice to talk about something other than you sickness, so you can see what’s going on in their lives as well! Have a friend at home or at another school? This is the perfect time to catch up. You’ll be hanging out in your dorm room a lot, so why not pass the time a little quicker with a friendly phone call? You’ll feel much better after you did.
Getting sick is no fun at all, especially when it happens at school. Not only does it put a damper on hanging out with friends and attending events and parties, it also can seriously disrupt your studies. You don’t want to fall too behind when you become ill, so make sure to follow these tips the next time you’re sick!