Perhaps it was my lack of sleep over this first week of school, or the sweltering heat in my non air-conditioned dorm room, but this morning I awoke to a a terrible head cold. The whole nine yards; achy, runny nose, cough, chills, (I know, really attractive right?) It’s rough getting sick in college without your mama able to be there feeding you motzos ball soup from your favorite deli. It also gets pretty depressing knowing that you’ll be stuck in your room all day while your friends are out enjoying campus. However, there are some ways you can help yourself get better quicker, without the self pity.
I’m not going to say don’t go out every night in college because that is totally unrealistic and quite frankly, lame. However, being aware of your own body will help you get less sick in the long run. You know the simple stuff…get 8 hours of sleep, drink lots of water, eat healthy, but sometimes as college students we think we are invincible, when in fact, we really do need time to rest. Otherwise we’ll have to miss out on some bitchin parties. It totally sucks on a night like tonight when I’m getting texts from my friends inviting me to come out to a local concert and I’m stuck in bed.
When you start feeling the symptoms of a cold, increase your vitamin C and antioxidant intake. Take an empty bottle to the dining hall and fill er up with some OJ (only if it is actual 100% juice and none of that Tropicana or Sunny D crap). Start having three mugs of chamomile or green tea per day (You should get an electric tea pot for your room, it comes in some real handy). Also try Throat Coat tea for your sore throat, trust me, it’s magic. If you are aware of how your body feels you can start doing things at the beginning of your cold to make the virus pass quicker, and more comfortably. At the dining hall steer clear of the dairy products and go for salads with lots of dark leafy greens. If your salad bar has kale, load it on up. Also try to have a piece of fruit at each meal. An apple a day really can keep the doctor away. In the morning go for oatmeal and a banana, because you’ll need the fiber to keep your energy up if a cold is going to try to weigh you down.
If you live in a dorm and you are too sick and grodie to make it to the dining hall, there are some great canned soups that you can get that aren’t too high in sodium and taste delish!
Check out a brand called “Amy’s”. All of their frozen and canned foods are organic and vegetarian. It’s a good idea to always have a few of their items in stock in your room. Their “Light in Sodium Lentil Vegetable Soup” is great for when you are sick because it has protein, lots of fiber, and is only 160 calories per serving. When I make it at home I even add some cut up turkey slices and swiss cheese before I microwave. Sometimes when I’m sick I need a little extra protein to keep me going. Be creative and make canned soups your own by adding veggies, spices and toppings to turn a normal soup into something of your own. Steer clear of soups made by Campbells or Progresso, as many of these soups have added preservatives that may not help that cold of yours and keep you from getting well quicker. The key is to look at the label and make sure it only has about 8 ingredients or less, and you should know what each of them are. If something says an ingredient you can’t even pronounce, it’s probable a additive that you don’t want in your body, especially if you are sick.
For those of you who do not live in dorms but instead are lucky enough to live in a place with your own kitchen, try my “Zo Yummy Zucchini Soup” for an easy, feel good meal.
I know getting sick in college totally sucks, but there are lots of things you can do to prevent this from happening, and other tricks you can do to make yourself feel better if it does. It’s pretty obvious that while you are sick you shouldn’t be drinking, but I just thought I would remind ya’ll. From experience I know how much worse it can get. A cold has to pass on its own, but making yourself comfortable on your own can be easy if you just remember to stay aware of your body. You may even feel prideful and more independent knowing that you’re getting through this for the first time on your own, without your family tending to your every need.
Be responsible and make good choices out there you sick kids! Then you can pass on these tips to your roommate, because he/she is inevitably going to get it next week.