The Healthy Intern

I didn’t go to class, or work, today. Why? Because I woke up feeling like death. Couching, hacking, sneezing…not to mention, chills, fever, etc.

When you’re in this stage of your life, it’s easy to get sick. Stress and close proximity to others make the spread of illness easier. Cold and flu season is generally one on-going epidemic for most college campuses. I seem to have fallen victim!
Well, there are some tricks to getting yourself up and running again in a pinch. Even though I missed classes today, I still have an obligation this evening that I CANNOT miss. So, I turned to some oldies-but-goodies as far as flu/cold remedies:
  1. Soup. Soups are soothing on the throat, but can also contain protein and antioxidants that your body needs to stay strong. Chicken soup is a favorite stand-by, but just about any broth-type soup will do. The broth also helps to clear the throat some. Avoid cream-based soups, though, as these can make coughing worse (in my experience.)
  2. Fruit Juice. Generally orange or grapefruit juice is the best, although cranberry can be useful too. Don’t chug this stuff, though; you only need to drink enough to get about 100% of your daily Vitamin C intake. One 12 oz. bottle of Tropicana oranga-strawberry-banana juice has 120%. It’s not hard to get your daily value of C. However, don’t try to overdose yourself on Vitamin C in hopes of flushing the sickness; taking too much of it can actually inhibit your body’s ability to absorb it.
  3. Vicks Vapor Rub. This stuff works miracles. A few dabs under the nose help fight congestion within minutes! Overnight, putting it on the throat, chest, and under the nose can help guarantee a slightly less…gross…coughy…icky…wake-up the next day. Also, if you need some heavy-hitting help, you can use a bit of a steam treatment with this stuff. Put a dollop of the Vapor Rub into steaming-hot water (in a bowl). Hold your face over the bowl, and put a towel over your head. This creates a sort of home-made steam chamber. You breathe in the steam, and with the mentholated Vapor Rub added, it’s a great way to minimize head and chest congestion.
  4. Sleep. College kids and busy interns tend to go between extremes in the amount they get. Either they get way too much, or not enough. Well, when you’re sick, there’s no such thing as too much sleep. I had three naps today, punctuated by eating, drinking orange juice, and talking on the phone with my ma about a financial aid error.
  5. If problems persist…see a doctor. Most colleges have clinics where there are nurses/doctors on staff for students. If that’s not an option, check out walk-in clinics in your area. Here. we have the Central DuPage Hospital’s “Convenient Care” Clinics. They’re fabulous. They have a full testing facility right there. They can even do x-rays. They helped me kick walking pneumonia last term.
This time of your life is stressful and busy. This time of year is swamped with bugs and viruses and flus and colds and a wide variety of other microbic culprits. Those two facts together means you’re at risk. Stay health, keep on top of your sleep, and good luck!

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