Illness is one part of life that no one can avoid. For me, my first call is always to my mom to seek advice on how to take care of myself while away from home. Luckily enough, my mom is always there to tell me what medicines to take and reminds me of the self-care she gave me when I was younger.  

My favorite tips that she gives me are making a sore throat mocktail of ginger ale and orange juice, to take a step back and really listen to what my body is telling me (i.e. to take time off, don’t overwork myself, or sleep)–and that it’s not the end of the world. 

One of the many first steps college students have in adulting is taking their health into their own hands. Check out our tips on how you can battle illness away from home.  

1. Be prepared

You don’t want to wait until it aches to move out of bed. Make sure to stock up on cold and flu medicine and have a first aid kit.  

Vaccines are also a great way to prevent illness. Health & Wellness Services has COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots available to all students. All you have to do is call 507.457.5160. 

On top of preparing medicine, have other items on hand to help you through your illness. 

  • Hot Tea (with honey) 
  • Cough Drops 
  • Tissues 
  • Ready-Made Meals 
  • Electrolytes, Juices, and Water 

2. Accept the care

Yes, you want to warn your friends you’re sick, but also don’t be afraid to ask for help; that’s what friends are here for! Take the cough drops and accept the hot tea, it’s an act of love. Bonus points if you’re gifted with Gatorade!

3. It’s not the end of the world

This temporary ailment isn’t worth the negativity. Understand that set-backs like this happen, you’ll push through soon.  

If you need extra health advice outside of what your friends tell you, contact the Ask-A-Nurse message line at 507.457.2292 or email askanurse@winona.edu. A healthcare provider will be able to give you answers of what to do, and what your symptoms might mean.  

4. Forget studying and nap it off

You might think you don’t have time to rest, and sometimes you might not. Take into consideration that you can’t perform your best until you take a snooze and take care of yourself. If a nap really isn’t an option, try to get to bed earlier; sleep is the gateway to recovery.

5. Call your family

Let your parents know how much you appreciated their care and how you admittedly took it for granted. Talking to them over the phone or video chatting can bring a sense of home to your home-away-from-home. Mom or Dad just always know the right things to say that can make you feel a bit better.

Keep in mind: “Being sick is just your body’s way of saying you’re way too awesome, and you need to slow down, so everyone else can catch up” –Unknown.

These little tips will come as lifesavers sooner or later. Getting sick when you’re away from mom can be a drag and it’s even easier to catch a cold when living in such close quarters with roommates. Value your good health while you still have it!

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Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson graduated in 2020 with a degree in Art: I-Design. As a student, she worked with the University Marketing & Communications team as a writer and photographer. She was hired after graduation to support public health communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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