How to Beat the College Cold

How to Beat the College Cold

Congratulations! You’ve cruised through your first few weeks of classes with no problems except—COUGH!! Oh no, are you sick already? Haven’t you been following our column about how to take care of your body and stay healthy? Unfortunately, no matter how well you take care of yourself at school, campus is a breeding ground for germs, and everyone will inevitably get sick. Luckily, the preventative measures we’ve talked about in the previous columns will easily translate to what you should do when you don’t want to do anything but stay in bed.

This is intended to help when you are congested and have a minor cold, cough, or sore throat.  If you try these things and your condition continues to decline within a few days, you definitely need to go to Student Health.  You don’t want to wait until you have strep or something worse (believe me, I made that mistake last semester).

The key to beating a cold (or at least being able to function when you have one) is fine-tuning the combination of what you eat, what you (temporarily) avoid eating, and what you do a few times a day to keep your cold from getting worse.  Of course, there are many different ways to face a cold, but here are a few that I always use.

We’ll start with what to eat, which is on par with what we’ve previously discussed.

Anti-inflammatory foods are always good, ranging from fish to fruits to herbs like ginger and garlic.  However, if you don’t feel like going to the dining hall when you are sick, there are a few things you can do with a microwave.  Prepare green tea with honey in your room.  Try a piece of whole-wheat toast or crackers with a light soup or broth.  If you are achy and have chills, ingesting warm foods will help you feel more comfortable.

Warm foods are important to helping you feel better. Chicken noodle soup can do wonders for that nasty cold.

No dairy?!  You mean milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and everything else?  YES.  This is the biggest modification I make when I have a cold because it makes a big different with the level of congestion. These founds encourage the development of mucous. Combined with our preventative practices, you will feel better in no time.

Finally, here are couple of simple things to do a few times each day.  If you stay consistent and do them often, you will feel better within a few days.  The first is gargle with salt water.  All you need is about a ½  cup of warm water and some sea salt.  If you do this each morning and evening, and maybe even midday, the congestion will start to clear out.  Also, remember that staying hydrated is very important.  Having a cold means loading up on as much green tea, Emergen-C, and water as you can stand.  Try to drink more than you would normally.  And finally, take advantage of not feeling well to rest, nap, and get a good sleep each night.  This will allow your body adequate time to recover and heal.

While you’re balancing it all, don’t forget to call your mom, dad, best friend, or anyone else who cares about you.  Your roommates will carry on with their schedules until they catch the bug and life will go on around you, but it’s helpful to know that there’s someone out there thinking of you.

So when that cold rolls around on your campus (it’s already here at UD), take these small steps to stay healthy and in good spirits.  You can beat it!