College is one of the easiest places to get sick. The combination of constant exhaustion, stress, and close contact with peers (and thus their germs) can mean hell for your immune system. Strep throat can be one of the more debilitating lapses in health for college students.So what do you do when your fever is above 102°F, you can't swallow without wincing, and you have a paper due in two days?
Here are some tips on how to get better faster from someone who has had to visit the university's health center 12 times in one year.
Don't go to class
There is absolutely no point showing up to class looking and feeling like the walking dead — even if attendance is mandatory. Your peers will thank you because with strep, you're contagious until you've been on antibiotics for at least 48 hours.
If you can, email your professors proof of illness — a picture of the doctor's report, for example — and hope they are receptive. Professors know college students get sick. Briefly look into what you missed, and then give yourself a few days to recuperate.
Sleep instead of watching TV
Staying home sick when you were a kid might have meant watching movies or TV shows curled up in bed, but when you're sick in college, sleeping is a priority. The time you spend asleep is time you allow your body to heal. Make sure your bed is well blanketed for when the fever spikes and you're shivering uncontrollably, but make sure you're able to get rid of the blankets when the fever breaks.
Drink more than you think you need to
Make a trip to the store and stock up on water, orange juice, Gatorade, soda water, etc. Fevers cause dehydration, which can worsen a fever. Break this cycle by ensuring you're constantly drinking enough fluids. Gatorade or carbonated drinks can sooth a strep-ridden throat.
Eat in small portions
Strep can make you lose your appetite – especially when you feel like you can't swallow anything. However, you need to have something in your stomach to take fever reducers and antibiotics, so it's important to stay well nourished.
When you're at the store getting fluids, invest in some applesauce, yogurt, or soup. Your mom is not here to bring food to your sick bed, so it is important to buy foods that require little to no preparation and are easy to swallow.
Let yourself get better
You will only prolong your sickness if you go about your life like you're feeling fine. In college, this can be one of the most difficult things to do because we often do so much. On top of not going to class, don't go to your club meetings. Skip your exercise routine for a day or two. Don't cram in the library. Put a hold on partying until you're feeling completely better. Your body needs time to bounce back and get stronger so you won't get sick again.
When you finally emerge on the other side of this illness, thanks mostly to antibiotics but also to your recuperation methods, take it easy, and make your first priority staying healthy.