An Insider’s Guide to Being Sick

As students study to the soundtrack of sniffling and coughing classmates, it’s a wonder anyone stays healthy. So how can a student survive the winter sickness in South Dakota?

By Regan Garcia

Winter in South Dakota can be torturous to everyone but especially students. The snow is hard to drive in, it’s too cold to do anything outside, and everyone is sick. Literally, everyone.

In the past few weeks Central has had a head cold, a stomach bug, strep throat, and the flu. With almost 2,000 students, bugs spread extremely easily, and they hit hard. Wondering how many students stayed or went home sick, I set out for the attendance office. “Ohohoho,” Bonnie Thovson replied. “I would say at least a hundred a day.”

I’m obviously qualified to write about this because I am sick while I write this. I don’t know with what I am sick for sure, all I know is that it’s not fun and I’m very tired. (Yet here I am, in my journalism class, writing this for the masses.) But what do you do to get through being sick? Central’s school Nurse Nancy Reiss recommends, “The big thing is washing your hands. Eating healthy, of course . . . and sleep. Lots of sleep.”

Here are my Super-Qualified-Because-I’ve-Done-This-For-Four-Years Tips for being a “living sick” (get it, like the living dead, haha, I’m funny).

Note: I am not a medical professional. Everything I say here should be taken with a grain of salt.

Tip 1: WATER

Drink a TON of water. Staying hydrated should be your top priority if you’re sick. Your body is working to expel your sickness, and it’s important to help it as much as possible. Try to drink at least three cups of water everyday, at minimum. If your sick is the runny-nose-constant-outpouring-of-mucus type, it’s in your best interest to drink one or two carbonated drinks. The carbonation helps to break up the mucus and flush it out of your system quicker, but be sure that you aren’t just drinking soda all day. Balance it out with water.

Tip 2: Sleep, a lot.

Bedrest is one of the most important parts of getting through being sick. Your body is working overtime to fight off the illness and keep you from dying. Thank it by allowing it to rest, and to focus on only stopping being sick. If you’re unable to sleep, stay in bed and watch TV/Netflix, or read a book. My favorite show to watch while sick is BoJack Horseman, and my favorite sick book is Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The most important thing is to not put too much stress on your body or brain.

Tip 3: Take Care Of Yoself.

Make sure to be taking whatever medicine your mom or doctor tells you to take, and that you’re taking it responsibly. I know that when you’re sick it’s tempting to just take whatever and hope for the best, but it’s better in the long run to take any medication as recommended. When taking several medications, make sure that they are okay to be taken together. Be careful with what you’re drinking too. Most energy drinks cause bad reactions with medication so stay away from those. Your best bet is always water. (Water water water. Lots of it.)

Tip 4: STAY. AT. HOME.

Real talk here for a second, guys. I know the excuses- “I need to go to school or I’ll get behind in class!” “I have a perfect attendance record- I can’t mess it up now!” “I have practice/a game/a concert after school that I absolutely have to be at!” Trust me, I get it. But please, just stay home. In the interest of taking care of yourself and everyone else, stay home. If you come to school with a terrible head cold and expect it not to affect anyone else, you’re sorely mistaken, and I, personally, loathe you. Coming to school if you’re contagious is just . . . not good. You’ll get a bunch of other people sick, and it puts too much stress on you and your immune system. Plus, if you’re deathly sick, you probably won’t be able to process anything that happens. That important math test? I don’t think it’ll go that well if you’re trying to figure out a difficult quadratic equation and you’re having to get up every two minutes to blow your nose. The big concert? They’ll get by without you. Trust me, they’d rather you not be there if you’re sick. Just stay home. For everyone’s sake.

Bonus Tip: Mom!

One last tip, if you’re not above it. Act as pathetic as you possibly can. If your parents have any sympathy at all, they’ll pity you so much that they’ll baby you. When I’m sick, there’s nothing better than being coddled by my mom. Only do this if you truly are sick, it backfires easily if they find out that you’re faking.

Photo: Chanchoche by Juan Pablo Colasso on Flickr