For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Sep 30 2016
by Rachel Loia

3 Signs a Cold is Coming and 8 Ways to Shut it Down

By Rachel Loia - Sep 30 2016

Being sick is inevitable, especially when you live with a lot of people in small spaces. In college there is no time for coming down with a cold and yet it seems everyone is always coughing. I started this year with four boxes of tissues and I'm down to the last one. Did I mention I moved in less than three weeks ago? Yeah, it's rough. 


By noticing the illness long before you're in the thick of it, and by following simple steps to make the feeling survivable, it is possible to function almost completely normally. Here are some telltale signs that you're coming down with something. 

1. A sore throat.

A painful sore throat that you're trying to pretend is just from talking too much, but in reality is a red flag of what's coming (especially if it is starting to make you dread swallowing) can be one of the first noticeable signs of illness. According to WebMD, most sore throats are caused by viral infections, so if you have a even the slightest tickle it's probably a good idea to prepare yourself for the worst.  


2. Exhaustion.

This is the drained feeling you get that isn't from human contact or lack of sleep; the kind of drained feeling that keeps you from wanting to wash the dirty dish that's making your dorm smell horrific. It's the kind that no amount of napping can fix. The reason for this is that when you're asleep, your body can work more efficiently at fighting something off. Listen to your body. Let it do its job. 


3. "You look horrible." 

Trust me, someone will point it out to you. Sometimes the people around us notice the small changes in our appearance before we do. Whether it's the, "Are you feeling OK?" or the, "You look different," someone will feel the need to mention the small signs your body is trying to fight something off. You think you can fight off illness and still look good? Who are you? RuPaul? 


Now that you've noticed it, it's time to shut it the heck down. These are the best ways to get through it.

1. Drink honey.

Drinking honey straight is a miracle when it comes to a sore throat. Because honey has natural antibiotics that draw fluid from the throat when inflamed, it tends to help soothe the pain. I can vouch for this trick thanks to a horrific cold in the midst of a huge speech and debate tournament my senior year of high school, when I took a tablespoon of honey every hour in order to hold onto to my voice to the best extent possible. Disclaimer: while this does work really well, make sure to drink a lot of water with this or your stomach might feel gross.


2. Eat chocolate.

I'm not kidding. According to Dr. Dugoua, the bromine in chocolate helps suppress nerve activity that results in coughing... basically numbing the tickle in your throat. It is suggested that you avoid chocolates are high in sugar though because this could potentially weaken your immune system. Personally, I would go for dark chocolate because it's pretty good and won't hype you up too much.


3. Drink water.

Seriously. Everyone says this, but if you can manage to drink a lot of water then do it. It'll break up the mucus quickly and make it easier to focus on other things (like that huge bio test you have next week). Besides, you need a lot of water to function on a daily basis; even more so when you're sick.


4. Green tea.

Green tea is literally full of antioxidants that can help you out when you're sick. My grandmother swears by this method of fighting any illness and I honestly can't blame her; she's 80 and as healthy as a horse. Whenever I got sick as a child she'd make me drink an excessive amount, and much to my dismay I'd be back in school by the next morning. Oh, and green tea fraps from Starbucks don't count. 


5. Sleep. 

Rest as much as you can. Your body can best fight off illness when it is resting, and being a college student is not an excuse for losing sleep. Try to nap in between classes and hit the hay early, or even nap in classes (shhh). Your body will thank you. 


6. Medicine. 

I know some people don't like to take medicine, but if you need it, use it. I personally had Theraflu every night before bed and I was able to do work before curling up in a ball of sadness. It's OK to have medicine sometimes, especially if there is justifiable reasoning behind it. Also don't make yourself suffer.


7. Eat bland. 

Keep it simple with things like rice or granola bars. With mucus piling up in your stomach, bland food items like rice will be less of a strain on your digestive system. Not to mention you won't feel so yucky after eating a portion of it.


8. Don't be stubborn.

Listen to my advice. It's the same advice that you have probably heard before, but trust me, there's a reason people say it so much. I can't tell you how frustrating it is when someone tells me they know they should be doing all of these things, but they choose not to and then continue to whine to me. You're losing my pity by being stubborn. 


Basically, if you pay attention to your body and attempt to make it easier on yourself, then you can be productive despite feeling like you're being dragged into the pits of hell. That last part was a bit dramatic, but I think it conveyed a good image. 


Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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Rachel Loia - Ramapo College

Rachel is a freshman studying biology at Ramapo College of New Jersey. She also loves writing and uses it as an excuse to not do schoolwork. Instagram: @rachloia

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