KOPPLIN: The college student’s guide to surviving sickness

It’s that time of year when runny noses, hoarse coughing and explosive sneezes fill the air. It seems as though no one is immune to the spread of germs. With the whirlwind of studying, tests and essays, the last thing anyone wants is to get sick in college. When a student is sick, all of the motivation and energy to deal with the stress of schoolwork is likely sucked from their body and thrown out the window.

Some may think the end is near and that there is no way to survive sickness in college, but, there is hope. Here are some tips students can use to survive being ill at school:

1. Don’t panic

The last obstacle a sick college student needs is stress over staying on top of assignments. Don’t freak out; it will make things worse. Instead, focus on getting better. Your schoolwork will still be there when you recover, and there’s no reason to add the extra strain. Also, trying to do homework when sick may not be the best idea. When you’re not in the right state of mind, homework can be confusing or turn out poorly. It’s better to just wait it out, let your body heal on its own and complete assignments once you’re feeling up to par.

2. Warn your roommates

Living with multiple people, a common experience in college, can come with many challenges. These challenges can include uncomfortable conversations or arguments — or when someone suddenly falls ill. When you’re sick, it is essential to warn your roommates about it. In a small space with many people, germs can travel quickly. It’s better they know early on so they can take preventative actions to ensure their own health.

3. Properly medicate

As soon as you know what illness you have, it is time to start medicating. There are many places on or around campus where you can get treatment for a cold. In some residence halls, there are convenience stores that house common-cold medications like Sudafed, DayQuil and NightQuil. The University Health Center also offers Tamiflu and antibiotics if you test positive for illnesses like influenza or strep throat.

4. Push fluids, not yourself

If you are sick, especially with something that is contagious, do not go to class, where you risk spreading your infection. Make sure to keep in contact with professors via email and ask about assignments you might have missed. You can also ask classmates for notes or insight to anything discussed in class. This precautionary measure can limit the spread of germs and give your body the rest it needs to fight off the illness. Stay hydrated and well-rested, and keep professors updated so you can focus on getting better.

Being sick in college can be a tough situation to handle. You are torn between knowing your energy is drained and knowing you cannot fall behind in classes. On one hand, you may want to go to class because attendance is important, but on the other hand, you may not want to infect others. By remaining calm, warning those around you, getting the proper medication and not pushing yourself too hard, it is possible to get better efficiently and quickly so you can get back to focusing on college.