This lovely picture was taken by my boy Jack Yu from Yongjianyu.com
Being sick in college is one of the most miserable experiences you’ll have. What’s worse is that it can be really easy for colds and viruses to be transmitted when you’re in college because you’re living so close to others in such small spaces. Yep, germs, snot and who knows what else are everywhere, and will not hesitate to give you absolute hell. So now that I may or may not have just sent chills down your spine (or was that because of the cold you may or may not be catching???) here are some ways that you can avoid getting sick.
P.S. I have only gotten sick twice in my five semesters of college! I think I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that.
1. Bundle up when it’s cold outside.
I’m not trying to catch a cold just because I wanted to wear a cute tank top and shorts one last time before I send them to the back of my closet. Not dressing appropriately for the weather is one of the easiest ways you can get sick. I know there are lots of events like football games and homecoming that we all want to look cute for, but always consider the weather before picking an outfit. You might need to grab a scarf or a light jacket before heading out.
2. Don’t share food or drinks.
DON’T DO IT. That one sip of your friend’s soda can change everything. Your friend could be just starting to recover from a cold and if they’re still contagious…good luck.
3. Avoid sick friends.
While we’re still talking about friends, if yours are so sick they’re coughing up a lung, try to spend as little time with them as possible. I know, that sounds totally mean, and if you were sick you’d want to be surrounded by love and warmth from your friends, but I don’t think they’d want you to catch what they have. You can’t avoid all contact with your sick friends, but try to be careful.
4. Don’t feel shy about asking your friends to cover their coughs.
“Hey, do you mind coughing into your sleeve? I just don’t want to get sick.” This is a pretty polite way to ask a friend to be more aware that they could be spreading germs and getting others sick. You’re obviously not going to say, “COVER YOUR COUGH, B*TCH.” I know misery loves company, but don’t feel bad for nicely saying that you don’t want to get sick.
5. Get your sleep!
I feel like I mention getting adequate sleep in literally every single post, like the one on how to deal with stress in college. But seriously, words cannot describe how heavenly sleep is. Get it. I know that being out on your own without a curfew to chain you to your bed can make you feel invincible, but you’re going to feel like absolute crap if you don’t sleep enough.
6. Sanitize workout equipment before using it.
First off, not everyone who uses the workout equipment wipes it down when they’re done with it, even though it’s basically like the unwritten law of sanitary gym practices. Second, if that person has a cold and they blow their nose, wipe away some snot, cough into their hands and then touch the buttons on the treadmill, the handles on the elliptical and all that other stuff, you’re picking up whatever they put down. Make sure you give everything a quick once over with some wipes before using it.
7. Throw in some healthy meals where you can.
Building healthy eating practices can really boost your immune system and make you feel healthier overall. That’s not to say that people who eat healthy never ever, ever get sick but eating healthy can reduce your chances of getting sick and even help you recover quicker if you do. I love eating spinach and rave about it to anyone who’s willing to listen! Try fun ways of incorporating healthy veggies and fruit into your diet, like making smoothies or popsicles.
8. Don’t wash your hair and immediately go outside.
My momma always warned me against going out with wet hair, especially when it was cold outside. I used to see lots of girls in school do it, but then again I also used to hear those girls complain about being sick all the time. You may not get sick after doing it just once, but don’t make this a habit. Make sure your hair is at least 80% dry before going out into the cold.
9. Wash your hands often.
This one is something we’ve been hearing since kindergarten. Wash your hands especially if you were just somewhere that’s notorious for containing a lot of germs, like a bathroom or junk yard (no, I have no idea why you’d be at a junk yard, but let’s just go with it).
10. Clean your space regularly.
All the dust collecting on your table and couch can really aggravate your allergies and can even make you sick. Mold can also do this, so keep an eye out for any hygienic issues in your dorm room that you might have to report to an RA, though I hope no one’s dorm room actually contains that much mold…Make sure you vacuum, dust off, and wipe down any surfaces. You can also take turns doing this with your roommate or suite mates.
11. If you feel a cold coming on, act FAST.
If your throat is starting to feel some type of weird, dry way, you’re probably getting sick and this would be a wonderful time to grab those cough drops and start drinking hot tea like it’s your job. Don’t wait for you to actually start running a fever before you decide to start doing something about it.
Being stressed AF can weaken your immune system, so make sure you listen to your body and treat it right! If you’re really tired and just need to sleep, SLEEP! If you feel like you need to just take some time to chill and watch Gossip Girl amidst your 50 obligations, go for it! Remember to put yourself first.
What are your tips for avoiding getting sick in college?