If you have ever had the joy of being around me when I’m feeling under the weather, you know how much of a baby I become. No, really, I morph into a completely helpless infant – with a floor full of balled-up Kleenexes and a distinctly chapped upper lip, both symbolic of my inner turmoil. Typically, I’ll whine for the duration of my illness and make it known that I’ve come down with the tiniest cold or flu. I’ve spent a lot of my life thus far feeling less than healthy. Diagnosed with asthma and indoor/outdoor allergies at 3, I’ve spent a great deal of time sneezing and sucking down Albuterol inhalers due to a new growth of pollen, a cuddly old cat or other such triggers. I received allergy shots from my family physician for a number of years to make my seasonal allergies more tolerable. Growing up with such a low immunity, I’ve always held “getting sick” as an extreme threat. Add “flu season” into the mix of my already harsh allergies, and you find yourself with one paranoid Tina.
In all reality, I don’t handle getting ill very well, and going to class while I’m sick is the last thing on my mind. I’m all for multi-tasking, but I’ve never done too well with taking notes while simultaneously wiping my nose. And yet, with so much new information thrown at us everyday, making an active appearance in class is rather vital during this time in one’s educational journey. Therefore, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to make this challenge easier. After all, life waits for no one – sore throat or not.
For all our sakes, wash yourself!
While moping around in the same sweat suit for a couple days may seem like the best option at the time of being sick, do everyone a favor and allow yourself time to bathe. Taking a warm shower will not only loosen up any congestion, but will keep you in the same ritual that your morning (or evening) normally has. This habit will also benefit others, as you will no longer be harboring the germs that you basked in for the last 24 hours. And yes, you must throw on a new pair of sweat pants after you’re all squeaky clean. I promise, your friends will be rather happy with your decision.
As Mom always said: drink plenty of fluids.
I developed a love for tea as a direct result of how much I’ve consumed it during times of feeling unwell. As we all know, drinking warm fluids is known to soothe an irritated throat, help produce an active cough, and “cleanse one’s system” of undesirable microorganisms. While taking your dose of Dayquil, don’t forget this natural way of healing. Not a big fan of tea? Try heating up lemonade or apple juice or making broth to get the same effect. To supplement your intake of hot fluids, be sure to push plenty of clean water as well – even more than you would drink on a typical day. Keep a glass of water by your bedside.
Too ill to function? Stay in bed.
Yes, I’m aware that I just stated that going to class was of extreme importance, even when one isn’t feeling well. However, there are some days in which you just need to take it easy – be away from everyone else. If you’re running a high fever or are feeling just plain crummy – aside from consulting a professional – let your body rest. If you will be missing class, be sure to email your professor in advance and let them know of your absence. In a world of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, using the excuse of being “sick” is often read as an immediate scapegoat, but staying on positive attendance terms (meaning not skipping class just for fun) will allow you to spend a day or two in bed, guilt-free. Already missed the allotted number of classes and yet are feeling too dreadful to sit through your course? I suggest showing up to class and explaining that you’re not feeling well. After all, no one wants to catch whatever you have. Also, if you’re too unwell to go to class, that means you’re too unwell for work or leisure as well. So, forget about picking up those extra hours at your part-time job and call your friends to let them know that your night at the bar will have to wait.
As we all dive head first into this year’s flu season, I hope you find this both informative and delightful – especially if you’re already suffering from the Sickness Monster’s bite. Be sure to take care of yourself, my friends. This is the only body you have.
With tissue in hand and Lysol in tow,
– Tina Cisarik, Staff Writer