Student Life

Sick day survival guide

In the COVID-19 world, it’s easy to panic the moment you let out a single cough or feel a tickle in your throat. Hyperaware as we are of cold symptoms, we are quick to notice when we have the dreaded common cold. Unfortunately, getting sick can take a toll on academics and cause a great deal of stress––and McGill’s policy on medical notes certainly doesn’t help. That being said, there are things you can do that can lessen the anxiety associated with catching a cold. Here are seven tips from The McGill Tribune on how to make it through this flu season. 

  1. Get tested for COVID-19

If you’re experiencing fever, cough, tiredness, or a loss of taste or smell––all common COVID-19 symptoms––it’s best to get yourself checked at your nearest testing clinic. It’s smart to apply for short-term academic accommodations through Minerva because you’ll likely have to miss class in order to self-isolate. Try asking a friend in your classes for missed lecture notes or reaching out to the professor. 

  1. Tell your loved ones 

Having to take care of oneself can be difficult, especially for those new to living away from home. When your body is weakened and your throat strained, it can be an especially arduous task. Even if your loved ones won’t be able to heal your sickness, or are far from you, text messages or Facetime calls can remedy something arguably just as important—your mood. Added tip: It never hurts to ask your friends if they can leave some soup at your door. 

  1. Sleep, and don’t feel guilty about it

Unfortunately, the onset of flu season collides with the waves of midterms and finals. Though it may feel tempting to continue to be productive even when you’re sick, rest is always more important—and conducive to a faster recovery. Peel your eyes away from that essay or textbook, turn off your alarms, and hibernate under your heaviest blanket for as long as needed. You will feel more energized and productive when you eventually do sit down to work.

  1. Try a cold remedy

The supposed remedies for colds are many, ranging from Vitamin C to saline sprays. Although it can be tempting to try a bunch of at-home remedies, make sure that those you choose are based on scientific evidence. Proven methods include staying hydrated, gargling salt and water to assuage a sore throat, and taking acetaminophen if experiencing pain. That being said, a warm bowl of chicken soup, though not a scientifically proven remedy, is certainly soothing when you’re feeling under the weather.

  1. Cope with restlessness

If you’re feeling restless, try doing small, non-exerting tasks in your home. Move your body to the rhythms of a guided yoga video, organize your closet, or declutter your working space. Create a soothing environment. 

  1. Call your doctor if necessary 

If your cold symptoms last longer than two weeks, worsen, or you begin to experience high fever, intense chest pain, or shortness of breath, it is a good idea to contact your doctor or the Wellness Hub. This may seem like overkill, but it’s important to check in with a medical professional to make sure that you are not developing an infection. 

  1. Give yourself a break

It’s easy to succumb to the guilt associated with a lack of productivity, but if there is ever a time to be unproductive, it’s when you’re feeling sick. Take a break, catch up on some of your favourite series, or read a book you’ve been meaning to read. Though it might not feel that way, resting is one of the most productive things you can do for yourself when you’re sick.

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