When it's cold outside and you're cramming for exams and trying to finish last-minute deadlines, that's stressful. You might also be overeating and perhaps overindulging in other ways. So your body is naturally worn out. When it lets you know that by slowing down, running a fever, and coughing up other unpleasant symptoms, what do you do?
Illness works its way through West Michigan regularly and sometimes with uncharacteristic virulence. While college students generally do not fear dying of the flu, coming down with it at school, instead of at home where family can help, is an unwanted challenge. It’s hard to keep on working and studying when you’re feeling miserable, and too few people know how or what to do to help you get better quickly. Here are our tips for making your next bout with illness much shorter:
- Sleep - In order to heal, your body must have rest, lots of rest. If you haven't gotten enough rest this semester, as is the habit of most students during finals and holidays, that’s probably a contributing factor to why you’re sick now. Learn the lesson now by listening to your body. If you’re tired, stop fighting it and sleep.
- Drink fluids - Dehydration is a serious problem for both normal functioning and healing. You are in far more in danger of dehydrating if you run a fever because your body also loses water through sweat. Drink lots of liquids, but focus on water. Water is what your body really needs, not sugar and not caffeine. Even when you do not feel like drinking, go ahead and take another sip of water. Soups and broths are also great for your health and a good eating option for people with less of an appetite.
- Don’t go to work or class; and don’t socialize - If you are sick, you are likely contagious. Don’t expose your coworkers or classmates to what you have. Put all of your focus on getting better instead. This will allow you to be able to put all of your focus back on school and work sooner.
- Get medical help - if your symptoms do not get better within a few days, or your temperature remains high over time, you should seek medical help whether from an on-campus clinic or your regular doctor. Let your family know, too!
- Stock your medicine cabinet - Hopefully you did this before you got sick and you have pain relievers, cough medicine, throat lozenges, and a thermometer on hand now. Remember to replace those items after they are used as they don’t just magically appear like they did at home.
Rely on your friends and roommates when you have to, and return the favor when you can. Sick people are pretty helpless and miserable, but eventually it happens, even to the best of us, so we should stick together and care for each other when we can. The flu, and the winter, will not last forever, no matter how likely this may seem today.