It’s that glorious time of year again—the weather is cooling off and lecture halls are filled with a chorus of sniffles and coughs. Despite your best efforts to avoid anyone who sniffles just once, you will wake up one morning to a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat. Before you skip class and go back to bed, read up on these tips to help you feel better faster.

1. Don’t skip meals.
To fight off infection your body needs extra energy, therefore, you need extra calories. Before you take this as permission to veg out on your couch with a whole package of Oreos, be warned: sugary or fatty foods can upset your stomach. So take it easy and snack in moderation.

2. If you’re gonna snack, pick something light


Photo by Andrea Kang

Crackers and popcorn are easy on your stomach while still being filling. These are a good choice if you’re feeling sick to your stomach, but no one wants to subsist only on saltines. Mix it up, friend.

3. Chicken soup really does help.


Photo by Analiese Trimber

Broth-based soups in general help to hydrate you and fight off throat inflammation; the heat of the broth also warms you up and helps ease congestion by opening up nasal passages. Condensed soup is a good option, but ramen is a good choice too.

Tip: Add saltines to your soup. It gives you childhood nostalgia and keeps you full. If you’re feeling up to cooking, this recipe is a real cold killer.

4. Try a smoothie. 


Photo by Jocelyn Hsu

A cold beverage can offer sweet relief on a sore throat, and a smoothie is jam-packed with immune-boosting nutrients. Since Jamba Juice doesn’t deliver, make your own (or guilt-trip a friend into doing it for you) with Greek yogurt (probiotics in yogurt can shorten the length of cold symptoms) and citrus fruit (like orange or grapefruit), for a protein and vitamin C boost. Need some ideas? Check this out.

5. Spice up your life.


Photo by Chase Kroesche

Research has also shown that spicy foods act as natural decongestants. Go for that Kung Pao chicken from Chopstix or add some Sriracha to, well, anything. Just don’t overdo it—spicy stuff can make a stomach bug go from bad to worse.

6. Don’t let the haters stop you from doing your thang.
It’s important to get rest and stay hydrated when you’re feeling awful, but don’t stay bedridden (unless you really want to work the whole sickness excuse). If you’re hitting the bars, order a vodka cranberry instead of rum and Coke; get your drink AND your vitamin C on. Just remember that alcohol is dehydrating. Have plenty of water ready for when you come home.