Getting sick is horrible in general. Getting sick at college though can be so much worse. At least at home there’s probably someone around to nurse you back to health, or at least take pity on you. At college, you’ve got to take care of yourself. That soup isn’t going to make itself. Here are some tips for handling being sick at school

1. Drink plenty of fluids.

Having to pee every 30 minutes is a frustrating thing, but fluids really do help you get better. Your body needs fluids to flush all the illness out. Also if you’ve got a fever, you’re probably sweating and getting dehydrated, so it’s important to stay on top of drinking. If water isn’t your thing, it’s still worthwhile to drink tea, sports drinks, and even a little bit of soda. The point is to get the liquid into your system and keep it down.

2. Get some rest.

No one wants to be told this because as college kids we have a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it. However, getting more sleep is one of the main keys to recovery. Your body heals while you rest, and it can better fight the illness if it’s not also trying to keep you running. You need at least the standard 8 hours (especially if you don’t get that regularly) but you’ll likely need even more than that. This generally means going to bed early, even if it means skipping that reading assignment or the really fun party next door. If you’ve got time, take naps too, especially in the middle of the day when you can feel yourself starting to lag.

3. Make a comfortable space for yourself.

Make some soup. Curl up with a cup of tea. Lay in bed and watch crazy amounts of Netflix while dozing. Take a hot shower. Whatever comfort looks like to you, find a way to do it. This can often be the most difficult because as college students we’re told to just keep trekking along, regardless of circumstance. If you feel well enough to do some work, great! But know when to take breaks. Listen to your body and what it needs. If you’re feeling too sick to make yourself food, ask a friend or your roommate if they can help. Essentially, don’t overtax yourself.

4. Talk to your professors.

Sometimes going to class will be unavoidable, whether it's because you have a presentation or a test, or just because your professor has a super strict attendance policy. However, letting your professors know you’re sick is always a good choice. They may want you to stay home rather than risk getting the rest of the class sick. They may even offer you an extension on assignments. The point is, if they don’t know you’re sick, they can’t help you deal with being sick.

5. Go to the health center.

When you’re sick it usually feels like you don’t have time for anything else, especially for going to the doctor. Most of the time. However, if the cold persists or gets progressively worse, it might be time to go and see a professional. The worst thing that can happen is you lose half an hour of study time and end up with some free cough drops. If something is wrong though, they can get you what you need to get better, whether that’s through medication or further testing. You know your body better than anyone else, so if something feels wrong, then something is probably wrong. It’s always better to get checked out and find nothing than it is to avoid a doctor only for your illness to get much worse (emergency room worse).

Being sick sucks, but with the right steps, you can handle it, even far away from home!