Opinion | Stay healthy and fight off your cold

By Maggie Knutte, Columnist

College is a new place with thousands of students. That means it is also a huge breeding ground for germs and bacteria. As a college freshman, I have already gotten sick more times than I can count. 

An NPR study showed that one in four college students gets the flu. The combination of COVID-19 in recent years and the already high rates of common illnesses — such as the flu, the common cold and mononucleosis — pose a risk to many students across the country.  

Many college students experience high levels of stress and run on minimal hours of sleep most days. Those factors along with the exposure to lots of people in large lecture and dining halls is what makes students so susceptible to getting sick. 

Here are some things you can do to stay safe, healthy and clean — especially if you are feeling under the weather. 

Having a cold can have a big impact on your schedule. Some of the basics to recover from a cold include getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated and taking lozenges. Other things you can do to soothe a sore throat include drinking warm liquids; I highly recommend tea with honey.

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Investing in pain relievers can also save you from your suffering. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil) and Aspirin are the three main pain relieving drugs that can be acquired over the counter at your local Walgreens or Target. 

If you are suffering from a sore or dry throat, a humidifier could benefit you as well. Often small and portable, humidifiers are a great way to combat dryness and help congestion. They can be found online on Amazon or at Target. 

Figuring out what to eat can be tough with a sore throat. The best things to eat are soft foods that won’t further irritate your condition. There are many foods and drinks to choose from that are both nutritious and soothing.

Sometimes being sick leads to throwing up — gross, I know. It is important to replenish your body afterwards by drinking plenty of liquids. Drinking products that contain electrolytes — such as Propel, Powerade and Gatorade — are important for recovery. 

On campus, McKinley Health Center provides many free resources for students. You can get free lozenges, sore throat spray and many other items that may help you recover from being sick. If you feel like your illness is getting serious, it’s always smart to take a visit to McKinley or your local doctor. 

There are official government resources supplied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well. Since the start of the pandemic, the CDC has put more effort into informing the country about communicable diseases. 

It can be hard to study or just perform day-to-day tasks when you are sick, so it is important to do your best to stay healthy and avoid ailments. Exercising when you can, eating your veggies and getting plenty of rest are some daily ways to take care of yourself. 

Managing your stress is equally essential. McKinley Health Center offers resources to help soothe stress, ranging from workshops to exercises. 

If you are feeling bad, the best thing to do is stay home and take care of yourself until you get better. Let’s all do our part to keep campus safe and our students healthy.


Maggie is a freshman in LAS.

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