Your Mom-Free Guide to Cold Season

(Marie Lambert)– Between the EEE-ridden mosquitos, “hand, food and mouth disease,” and the onset of fall/flu season, you are bound to get sick sometime in the next couple of months (although thankfully the EEE threat will begin to fade by the first frost, which can’t be that far off, knowing Amherst).

I was one of the weak ones, succumbing early last week to a sore throat that as since turned into the world’s most persistent cold. Before I came to college, I was one of those inexplicably healthy people who was only mildly ill for a couple days once or twice a year, annoyingly always on weekends or when there was no chance of missing school. But no longer: now we are barely a month into school and I’m already stricken at a time when I actually need to go to class.

And so because when you’re sick it’s hard to think about anything else, here is a list of tips I’ve gleaned from experience and Google about how to best weather daily life when you’re under the weather (please excuse my terrible clichés because of my deathly illness).

1.Don’t use the WedMD Symptom Checker to diagnose yourself. Last semester I had my first bad case of stomach flu, but was convinced that I actually was suffering from sort of gastrointestinal tumor because of WebMD. If you’re really worried that your sickness is severe, go to the Health Center or an actual doctor for an opinion, not a search engine.

2. Don’t wash your dishes in the bathroom sink. I did this until I read about how easily bathroom surfaces can be contaminated with viruses. If you keep your toothbrush in the bathroom, keep in contained so it doesn’t touch any commonly used surfaces.

3. Do your laundry often, clothing as well as sheets and towels. I’m all for recycling and saving resources, but not when you have the flu.

4. Hit up the hand sanitizer that seems to be posted at every doorway on campus, wash your hands a lot, and get disinfecting wipes. Just clean everything.

5. Don’t go to the gym. Pushing your body to exercise when you’re already vulnerable is not the way to get better. Also, exercise equipment is a great breeding ground for germs.

6. Don’t drink alcohol if you’re taking any kind of medication. Even just ibuprofen mixed with alcohol can cause liver damage. In fact, if you’re sick, just don’t go out. You’ll be tired anyway, and being crowded in a sweaty suite under a strobe light is not going to make you feel any better. Go home and sleep—the Socials will still be there when you’re healthy.

7. Speaking of sleep, do that. As much as possible. If you can’t get a solid eight hours in one night, take naps throughout the day.

8. Tea with honey is your friend. Val will never run out, so break out your complimentary Amherst College purple travel mug from freshman orientation and chug away. If you don’t like tea, then drink orange juice or water instead. Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do to speed recovery.

Stay healthy, friends!