It never seems to matter what year you’re in or what your living environment is like, germs spread like the plague in college. Everyone eats on the same surface, sits in the same seats, uses the same bathrooms…the list could go on for hours. Once one person gets sick, everyone else eventually catches it too. It’s like one big, messed up game of dominoes.
If you’re like me, you live in a constant state of denial until you start showing symptoms yourself. First your nose stuffs up and then your throat is kind of sore, and then all of a sudden you’re knocked off your feet with a full-blown cold. This mixed with stress from school and/or work, and suddenly you feel, for lack of a better word, like a blob.
So what do you do when you inevitably catch the latest germs on campus?
Wash Your Hands
Even though you already caught the dang bug, you don’t want it to linger any longer than it needs to. Wash your hands thoroughly whenever you’re in the bathroom and when you get home from school. It’s also a good idea to keep hand sanitizer with you wherever you go.
Sleep as much as possible
I know its hard when you get sick during a particularly busy week (aka the only time I ever catch one), but you need to find time to sleep. A full 8 hours is ideal on any given night, but it’s even more important when you’re unwell. I promise you that your roommates won’t think you’re lame, they want you to get better, too – even if it’s just so they have less chances of getting sick themselves.
Don’t be hesitant to medicate
I’m one of those people who suffers through colds and typically refuses to take medicine. Friends, don’t take after me unless you want to be miserable for a week. Sneezing and coughing all the time isn’t fun, so if it gets to a point where you can’t handle it anymore, get some cold medicine. Fun fact: I’m fighting a cold right now (#ThanksCollege), and I’m actually taking medicine for it. Hooray for making good decisions!
Take it easy
I know I already mentioned sleeping more, but you should also monitor how much you’re doing in a day. Try to relax as much as possible, AKA: No strenuous physical activity, you shouldn’t party on a Wednesday night, etc. I know, that’s no fun, but you’ll be thankful when you feel better sooner!
If all else fails, go to the doctor
Sometimes that OTC medicine and sleep just won’t do the trick. It sucks, but it’s true. At this point, you should take a trip to your friendly neighborhood medical center. Your school probably has one right on campus that you can go to and get the help you need!
Time for an anecdote! When I was a freshman, I got sick during the first week of November. We’re talking sneezing and coughing to the point I lost my voice. I tried everything from cold medicine to DIY steam treatments, but I had no luck. I went to the health center, croaked out my symptoms, and it turns out I had a sinus infection. Brilliant. They gave me the treatment I needed and I was better within just a few days. Moral of the story: Doctors know what they’re doing!
What to do when you get better
Hooray, you’re finally healthy again! What now? I’ve got one word for ya, honey: Clean. I know, nobody likes to clean, but you were pretty much a walking germ for a few days. It’s time to wash your sheets, disinfect your bedroom and bathroom, take out your trash…anything you can think of to de-germify your living area. It might seem like a lot of work, but it’ll be totally worth it to live in a clean space!
Hopefully you’re lucky and you don’t get sick this year, but if you do, I hope you follow these steps and get better ASAP!
To anyone who’s ever been sick in college, do you have any extra tips? Let me know in the comments!