By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern
Recently I got unexpectedly sick. I went on vacation and woke up not feeling very well the day after I got back. I told myself that traveling had taken a toll on my body, and that rest and hydration would have me feeling better in no time. That was not the case.
Instead, I ended up with a flu that lasted me almost two weeks. My fever went on for eight days, and the people at my nearest urgent care knew me by name (I visited them three times in one week!). I got a nasty cough that still hasn’t gone away completely, and congestion like I’ve never had before.
As a college student, getting sick out of nowhere not only took a toll on my physical health but my mental health, as well. I work a job, an internship, and go to school full time. So the whole time I was home sick, all I could think about was the lectures I was missing, and the extra work I would have to do in the coming weeks to make up what I missed at my job. It stressed me out!
I hope you don’t ever get as sick as I was, but if you do, here are some helpful hints that you can use to get back on your feet quicker!
- Prevention is key. Eat healthily and exercise often to keep your body and immune system healthy and happy. There is a less likely chance of getting extremely sick if your body is strong enough to defend itself. Also, DO NOT drink out of someone else’s drink, or eat off a utensil they have been using. This is one of the main ways the cold and flu can be easily spread. Mono, or ‘the kissing disease’, is spread via saliva, so it is also easily transmittable through sharing utensils.
- Sleep it off. Sleep really does help when it comes to being sick. Cytokines, proteins which fight infection, are released when you sleep. Even a short nap will do you some good when you are feeling under the weather.
- Try to stay stress-free. This was my downfall while I was sick. I couldn’t help but stress about school and work when I should have been resting. When you stress out, your immune system’s defenses weaken. That’s not the best thing for someone who is getting sick, or who is already sick. Email professors and contact classmates to get information you may miss if you’re out sick. Professors have office hours for a reason. Set up a time to meet with your professor during office hours when you are feeling better so you can go over what you missed.
- Stay hydrated. It is easy to get dehydrated when you are sick. Throwing up and sweating with a fever will drop your hydration levels quickly. If you are throwing up, sip water or a sports beverage slowly, and in short bursts. Wait ten or so minutes, and if you haven’t thrown up, take another sip. If you are not throwing up it is much easier to stay hydrated. Keep a glass of water by your side at all times, and keep the refrigerator stocked with sports drinks. Staying hydrated helps to break up mucus so that it is easier to blow and/or cough out of your system.
Remember to always wash your hands, cough into a tissue or away from others, drink plenty of water, and visit the doctor if you think you are becoming very sick. Being ill is preventable!
For more tips and tricks on staying healthy visit Fill Your Plate!
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