I woke this morning with a sniffle and sore throat, the early signs of a cold. Funny how it took me back to my college days and getting sick while living in the dorm. It’s times like these that you just want your mom to take care of you! If you are away from home and the crud hits, take the advice below to get back on your feet.

Keep your medical insurance cards handy.

This is just good to do even if you are perfectly healthy. Carry your insurance cards in your wallet so you know where to find them for doctor visits or if you’re in an accident and need medical attention.

Talk to a pharmacist.

For simple questions about treating your cold or flu symptoms, ask your local pharmacist for the best over-the-counter medicine to treat sniffles, cough, or a sore throat. They can help you identify the difference between a dry and wet cough, and will tell you what combinations of medicines work best.

Call your doctor’s office.

Describe your symptoms to the nurse to determine if a doctor visit is needed, or if rest and extra fluids will do the trick.

Visit the campus student health center.

If you attend college away from home and need to see a doctor, check out the student health center on campus. It is convenient, and they will know what illness is going around campus.

Don’t spread your germs.

If you are coughing or sneezing, stay away from others as much as possible. If you are in public, cough or sneeze into a tissue, or use the crook of your arm so you don’t pass germs to your hands and then to everything you touch. Also, wash your hands after blowing your nose, and use a disinfectant wipe to clean any surface you touch.

Get plenty of rest and fluids.

Warm liquids like tea can be soothing for a sore throat, and extra water will help a stuffy nose. Cut down on caffeinated and sugary drinks because they will make you feel jittery when you are trying to rest. If possible, stay in bed and sleep off your illness.

Google it.

You’re going to do this anyway, so go ahead and Google it. You should find some basic home remedies for a cold, and it might help you know when to call your doctor. However, don’t use the internet to self-diagnose.

On second thought, forget all the advice above and just call mom – she will tell you what to do and make you feel so much better!

Check out other blogs in this series:

College Skills: How to Buy a Car

College Skills: What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident

College Skills: How to Grocery Shop

College Skills: What’s up with your paycheck?