Dealing with Illness When You’re Far Away from Mom’s Chicken Soup

Germs travel fast in heavily populated college campuses, and when it’s cold and flu season, the chances of becoming ill become that much higher. Since the days of calling your parents to pick you up from school when you are feeling sick are long gone, here are a few ways you can deal with it.

Make Time for the Doctor

College students usually don’t have their parents around to tell them when it’s time to go to the doctor, so it’s up to them to determine whether their symptoms can be taken care of at the nearest drug store or if they need a doctor’s evaluation. For many students, not having a local doctor, not being able to afford one, or simply not having the time for a physician’s appointment between papers and exams, can come in between a sick student and a doctor’s examination. But remember that when it comes to your health and well-being, there is no good excuse. In the long run, not getting the proper treatment for illness is going to slow you down much more than taking an hour out of your day to visit the student health center. All students should immediately see a doctor if they are having trouble breathing, coughing uncontrollably, becoming dehydrated, running a high fever, or have been experiencing symptoms for long periods of time.

Get Enough Sleep

When you are sick, sleep is vital, as the lack of it can affect your immune system’s ability to fight off infections. Not only does your immune system work harder when you are getting some shut-eye, but sleep also helps to enhance fever response, which helps your body fight off infections and germs. Your rising temperature can kill the illness-inducing bacteria and viruses. Therefore, if you’re sick, stay home as much as possible and get some rest so that you can recover faster. If cold and flu symptoms like a sore throat, coughing, headache, or a stuffy nose are keeping you from getting the rest you need, try night-time cold medicines that will make you more drowsy than jittery. You should also consider topical nasal spray decongestants that will clear stuffy noses, and acetaminophen tablets that will lessen body aches and pains, fevers, and headaches.

Feed Your Body

Even though you might not feel like eating, a healthy diet will help heal your body and speed up recovery. Stick to foods that contain healing nutrients like vitamins B6, B12, and D, and minerals like calcium, zinc, and selenium. Try high protein foods that help strengthen the body and are easy on the stomach, like eggs, fish, chicken, or beans. It’s also important to drink plenty of liquids to help flush toxins, thin mucus, and cool down fevers. Stock up on plenty of water as well as other hydrating drinks like Pedialyte, Gatorade, and juice. And, of course, chicken soup and other types of broths that contain vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, are not only soothing, but will help hydrate, fight infection, and relieve congestion.

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