‘Mom, I’m sick’


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Being sick for the first time away from home is hard. Do you know what you might need to stock up on for flu and cold season? Make that call to Mom or check out the ideas below that have been “kid tested and mother approved.”

For most kids, college is the first time in their life where they are completely alone with total freedom. Freedom is great, you can eat whatever you want, stay up as late as you want, go out to parties, skip class without your parents knowing. The only downside is, freedom comes with responsibility. 

Every college student is bound to get sick at some point, whether it’s from the bad cafeteria food, a common cold, or just being run down. I don’t know about you, but whenever I was sick in high school, I always had my Mom or Dad to take care of me. 

The first time I got sick at college I called my mom and told her I didn’t feel good. The first thing she asked me was, what medicine had I taken or if I had done anything to help my symptoms. I responded with “I’m not taking any medicine, I don’t have any.” 

She was not happy with my answer and proceeded to ask why I hadn’t taken anything. My thought process was, she didn’t help me pack any medicine for move-in day, so I didn’t have any with me. When I got to the medicine aisle in the store, I was overwhelmed with the amount of options to choose from, and my first move was to call my mom again. 

As I am now a sophomore in college who has successfully survived two years of living on her own and taking care of herself while being sick, I have learned some helpful tips to make myself feel better. I have also found several home remedies to take care of yourself when your parents aren’t around. 

One of my most common sicknesses going around all college campuses right now is the “common cough” or a sore throat. There are many easy and affordable ways to soothe a sore throat.

Honey is a great home remedy to keep on hand in a dorm. Honey can be mixed into tea or even taken on its own to soothe a sore throat. Honey is considered a wound healer and will help coat your throat to relieve any pain or irritation. 

Another great home remedy that requires a little more effort is salt water. Gargling warm salt water can help break down any mucus within your throat, reduce inflammation, and kill bacteria. Simply take a half-teaspoon of salt, dissolve it in a full glass of warm water, and gargle for a few minutes. 

Tea is a great way to soothe irritation in the throat. Chamomile tea has been used for decades because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent properties. Drinking chamomile tea or inhaling the steam can help to relieve symptoms of a sore throat while also stimulating the immune system to fight off infection. 

Peppermint contains menthol which can help thin mucus and soothe sore throats. Peppermint can be consumed by warm tea or through the use of diluted essential oils. Peppermint or chamomile tea are both great ways to soothe a sore throat, especially when mixed with honey. 

Apple cider vinegar has natural antibacterial uses that help in fighting infections. Apple cider vinegar is very acidic, meaning it will break down whatever mucus may be in the throat, and will help stop the spread of bacteria. One to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted into one cup of water will make a solution that can be gargled every hour. 

Garlic contains allicin, a compound that has antibacterial properties and the ability to fight off infections. Taking a garlic supplement or adding fresh garlic to your diet everyday can help gain antimicrobial properties in the body and may even help prevent the common cold. If you are bold enough, several decades ago people used to suck on garlic cloves to soothe a sore throat because of its healing actions. 

Cayenne pepper or hot sauce can be good pain relievers because they contain capsaicin which is a natural compound known for blocking pain receptors. A mixture of warm water, honey, and cayenne may help soothe a sore throat or at least take the pain and irritation. Please avoid this method if you have any open sores in your throat or mouth. 

If you want to take the more medically proven route or the natural remedies just aren’t enough, there are also over-the-counter options available. Lozenges, cough drops, or numbing sprays can help provide temporary relief for your sore throat. 

Acetaminophen such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen such as Advil are two over-the-counter options that can be used to help relieve pain of a sore throat. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory which can help calm down an inflamed and painful throat. 

I hope these home remedies will help you survive this year’s common cough or provide you with some relief. If you are having severe symptoms, are not feeling relief from remedies or over-the-counter medications, please seek professional help by seeing a doctor.