Ryan Chartrand

You’re getting the sniffles, coughs are creeping up on you, your throat is suddenly sore. Its the last thing you need in your busy life: a cold.

With more serious sicknesses, you could get a doctor’s note, allowing you to skip classes and recover properly. However, with a mere cold, you could be stuck between going to classes and getting the rest you need.

Since mom isn’t here to take care of you, it is important to learn how to not only treat colds, but prevent them from getting worse or even bothering you at all.

Two Saturdays ago, I came home and realized I felt positively ill. I had felt sick earlier in the week, but thought that whatever it was had gone away. I decided to take some Robitussin, vitamins and cough drops and call myself in the morning.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel any better until that Monday, when I was able to venture out and get some more cough medicine and what I like to call super-cold-busting food: matzo ball soup.

As someone who unfortunately can’t boast the best immune system on the planet, I learned how to treat colds on my own very quickly. There is nothing better than rest (that’s laying down or propped up, not hunched over your computer), cough medicine (ranging from syrup or capsules, to cough
drops and vitamin C or echinacea), lots of tissues and a nice big bowl of whatever soup your mom made you when you got a bad cold.

Rest is vital. I got my cold relatively early into a three-day weekend. Most likely, you won’t be so lucky. Unfortunately, you probably have to attend classes, go to work, run errands and generally not stay in bed. However, if you don’t want your cold to get worse, you’re going to need to eliminate anything that’s not absolutely necessary.

E-mail professors if you’re going to skip their classes and explain that while your cold doesn’t justify going to a doctor just to get a note, it’ll be taking you out of class for a bit. Tell your boss you can’t come to work, you probably shouldn’t go just to avoid infecting others, and that you’ll call your coworkers to see if someone can fill your shift. Give your roomies your shopping list (in detail) and just stay in bed while they go to the supermarket. Generally avoid as much human contact for a few days.

So hopefully, you’ve gotten over your cold, but now there’s a new bug coming around. (‘Tis the season after all.) All you need now would be another cold knocking you out in the same quarter. But there are ways to help your body fight against the
germs.

First, you can bundle up. Like mom said, being exposed to cold weather can actually decrease your immune system’s ability to fight off germs. To keep your immune system at full germ-busting power, get a good night’s sleep and eat healthy as best as you can. Avoid people who appear to be sick and wash your hands regularly; you’d be amazed how far a little good hygiene can go.

Finally, start treating yourself as soon as you think you might be getting sick. Take vitamin C and echinacea, both of which help with colds and can be found in any pharmacy or supermarket, have a hot bowl of soup and get some rest. A quick response will help you get rid of the cold and allow you to get back to normal life much faster.

In the end, you might not be able to avoid getting sick during college. Its not easy or fun, but at least now you know how to fight back.

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