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Game Design and Development
Port Washington NY

Hot-blooded: How to handle being sick in college

Kevin Granger on Tuesday, 29 November 2011.

I’m currently writing this blog post with a case of the sniffles. It appears that my body didn’t like me getting four hours of sleep one night during break, so it’s taking revenge.

I have here a list of tips on how to keep healthy at RIT, and how to handle yourself if you get sick:

1. Wash your hands.

Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it a hundred times before. But in reality, it’s not to keep you healthy as much as it is to keep others healthy. Think of others!

This applies especially during this season. You don’t “catch cold” from being cold, but more people stay inside, in close quarters during colder weather, which increases contact, which increases the likelihood of you catching something.

2. Get your flu shots!

I don’t want to hear any of this “but I got sick when I got the flu shot” nonsense!

The vaccine may cause muscle soreness for a day or two in the arm where you got it, but that’s not the flu! If you really got sick after getting the shot, that means you had the virus before you even had the shot. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to fully take effect.

3. Have a “I’m sick” kit!

If you’re sick, you should be staying home (and missing class... I’ll leave that decision up to you). This means you can’t go out to get supplies, so keep yourself prepared!
You should have:
  • Tissues (if your nose gets sore from using a lot of them, get the kind with lotion and aloe built in)
  • Hand sanitizer (>60% alcohol)
    • Water
    • Tea (it’s wunderbar)
    • Gatorate (if you have the bottle kind, drink it down until the “top dome” is empty, then fill it up with water. That’s the perfect amount for watered down gatorate (alone, it has too much sugar for some people)
    • Ramen (you’re in college, I guarantee you have this anyway)
  • Thermometer (so you know for sure)
  • Salt (for gargling salt water, if your throat is sore)
  • Honey (alone, or mix it with tea. It’s perfect for coughs and sore throat. I like to mix it in tea with some lemon juice too)
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprogen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) (reduces fever, takes care of aches. Follow dosing procedures, don’t take too much. It’s dangerous, and as anyone who’s been on a ton of Ibuprofen can tell you, it’s not kind to your stomach. Eesh.)
    • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, but apparently only the kind you have to ask for behind the counter is good).

However, it’s not recommended to take:
  • Asprin (due to risk of Reye’s Syndrome)
  • Combination Cold Pills (I disagree, as long as you’re not taking Acetominaphen separately, they should be fine. Just be smart and read the labels.)
  • Over the counter stuff (apparently not strong enough)
  • Zinc lozenges, airborne, other “homeopathic” remedies (not proven to be effective)

4. Use the Student Health Center!
It’s part of your tuition for a reason. Use the resources available to you, if necessary! More information can be found here.

But, second only to good hydration, the most important tip of all:

5. Get plenty of rest.

This is not the time for you to be stressing over your responsibilities. That will just mean you’ll be sick for longer, and your responsibilities will just keep piling up.  Don’t say “but I have to stay up and go the club meeting, they’re counting on me to run it!” This is hen you call up your friends, associates, classmates, whoever, and say “hey, I’m sick, I really can’t come in. Can I have you run things for now?”

The majority of the information here (namely points 2 and 3) is taken from pamphlets distributed by the RIT Student Health Center.