Eight tips for sick college students


Sick on campus? Here are some tips and tricks to help you feel better. (Graphic by Maliah White)

Tegan Ruhl, Assistant Lifestyle Editor

Picture this: it’s 8 a.m. on the Monday of finals week. Today, you had anticipated writing that final paper and studying for that final exam. However, you wake up to excessive sweating, backaches, fatigue and a raging headache. You reluctantly go back to sleep, and you don’t wake up until noon. Little do you know, you have Influenza A, and it’ll take a week for you to recover.

This is what happened to me during the Fall 2022 semester.

I suffered through a week of the flu only to have a rough recovery. I was far too stubborn to go to the doctor and get adequate rest because it was finals week, and I needed to finish everything for the semester.

I have gotten sick again since my Influenza episode, and I have learned a thing or two about how to deal with illness in the time since. To avoid the same mistakes I made, here are some tips and tricks for what to do when you’re sick on campus.

1. Don’t try and fight it. 

I know the feeling. You feel obligated to go to class because you’ll feel like you’ll never be able to catch up if you don’t. You have FOMO because all of your friends are hanging out, and you’re sick at home. I’m here to tell you right now, STAY HOME! You will not learn or retain anything to your best ability while you are sick. You run the risk of getting your friends sick when you decide to hang out with them. Stay home and rest. Your body will thank you.

2. Naps hit different when you’re sick.

I normally don’t have time to nap throughout the week, but they’re my favorite thing to do when I’m sick. A good nap will help you in the long run with recovery. Plus, it’s a great excuse to take a break. If you’re not a nap person, I recommend you become one.

3. Over-the-counter medicine goes a long way.   

I highly recommend that everyone keeps some form of cold medicine in their living space. Even if you don’t get sick very often, it’s really convenient to have something on the off-chance you do become ill. The ones I normally keep around are Advil and allergy medicine, but I also like some of the more traditional cold medicines like Nyquil, Theraflu and cough drops.

4. Vicks Vapo Rub works miracles 

Vicks is my secret weapon when I’m sick. Sinuses? Rub some Vicks under your nose. Sore throat? Rub some Vicks on your throat. Headache or backache? Rub Vicks on your temples or lower back. When my roommate and I are sick, we always go for Vicks. It is best for the cold and flu.

5. We have a health center? 

Yep! The University Health Center is on the lower level of the Health Professions Center in room HP0091. Appointments can be scheduled, and walk-ins are accepted too. The Health Center is run by employees of Deaconess and are more than happy to help you with anything that ails you. Don’t be stubborn, go see a doctor! Did I mention this was included in your tuition?

6. Hydration is key. 

Specifically, electrolytes. When attempting to fight off dehydration while sick, it can be difficult to hydrate with just water. Electrolytes supplement your fluids and give you more energy when you’re sick. Typically, I would recommend drinks like Gatorade, Powerade and Pedialyte. Recently, I’ve been using Liquid IV, a drink packet you mix in your water bottle that hydrates you faster than water alone. Plus, it comes in a variety of flavors. My favorites are watermelon and strawberry.

7. It’s okay to ask for help. 

If you’re lacking something, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask a friend to drop you off some supplies. Have them take you to pick up a prescription. Talk to someone if you need to! I always tell my mom when I’m sick. She gives me good advice because I normally can’t think straight when I don’t feel well.

8. Don’t be so glum! 

Quit having a bad attitude when you’re sick! I know it sucks to be sick, I’ve been sick before (why do you think I’m writing this?). But choosing to have a bad attitude will not help you get any better. Stop being so stubborn. Do the best you can with the resources you have! You will eventually recover from the common cold or flu. Until then, take the time to catch up on that one show, play that one game, listen to that one album or text that one friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Do something you normally don’t have time to do because you may not have the time again for it.

Stay healthy out there! We cannot always avoid sickness, but we can make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves and being mindful of the people around us. Use your resources and be aware of your need to rest. Also, have fun! Sickness doesn’t have to suck all the time.