So, You’ve Gotten Sick in College. What Now?

So You've gotten Sick In College. Now What? | Five Foot and Fabulous

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?

So, You've Gotten Sick in College. Now what? | A guide to recovery on Five Foot and Fabulous

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!

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28 Replies to “So, You’ve Gotten Sick in College. What Now?”

  1. Great tips! I like your point about not hesitating to take medication! for some reason I would do that, especially in college, thinking it would just get better… boy was I wrong!

    Rachel |

    1. Thanks Rachel! And I do the exact same thing, haha!

  2. These are all so true! I feel like this happens in office environments too because you’re around the same people for 8 hours a day haha.

    xoxo, Jenny

    1. Didn’t even think about that! So true!

  3. Getting sick during school is the worst! No one likes to miss class or have to sit through it with a cough or runny nose!

  4. These are all such great tips. Getting sick during the semester is rough, but honestly, being sick at any point is really a bummer. Having to miss class or sit through a long day of work when you’re not feeling 100% is the worst. I always make sure to rest up, hydrate (!!) and carry hand sanitizer. I also drink a handful of immune-boosting liquids (green tea, turmeric + lemon tea, green juice, kombucha) and stock up on vitamins.
    Kayla || Keynotes from Kay

    1. Hydrating is also super important! Thanks for reading, Kayla!

  5. I got so sick last year right at the end of school and lucky my teachers were awesome and I spent almost 2 full days just sleeping. I was still sick for awhile after but I can’t imagine what it would have been like without that sleep!

    1. That is amazing! Thank goodness for awesome teachers!

  6. Ugh I am feeling this 100% right now!! I am sick and in college, I had a presentation this morning and it couldn’t be the worst time! I don’t have time to lay in bed and feel better. I have been doing all these and chugging OJ!

    Ciara |

    1. Oh yikes! I hate getting sick during busy weeks! Feel better soon!

  7. Constantly washing my hands helps a lot! Also drinking a lot of water and hot tea is good. Great tips!

    Alix |

    1. Thanks Alix! Drinking water is a major help too!

  8. This was always the worst. Always seemed to hit during exams when professors have no grace.

    1. Right? It’s such a struggle!

  9. Advil Cold & Sinus has actually been my lifesaver. I am absolutely in love with it and it helps out so much when you get a cold in college.

    Kirsten –

    1. Good to know, Kirsten! Thanks for reading!

  10. Great post!! Being sick in college was the worst – I was always such a baby about it and would want my mom! haha

    1. Thanks Sami! I’m kind of the same way!

  11. Rachel Timmerman says: Reply

    These are great tips! My professor in my clinical class actually just addressed many of these tips, so I’m glad to see them again 🙂 Heavy stress of school and so many germs being spread just seem to go hand in hand!

    1. Stress definitely plays a big role! Thanks for reading!

  12. These are great! I was constantly sick in college (I definitely wore myself down) and I normally called my mom like 5 times a day. I also called my GP because he was able to give me great advice without costing my family too much money! These are awesome tips!

    1. Thanks Ashley! Sorry to hear you were sick so much!

  13. Getting sick in college is the worst!! These are such great tips and sometimes all you need is a goodnight’s sleep!
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

    1. Thanks Amy! I agree about the resting part!

  14. Great tips! Staying at home is a HUGE yes when you’re sick in college!


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