What Should I do if I Get Sick at College?

Though many people think that going to college is similar to attending high school, the two are actually quite different, especially when it comes to sick time. High school students can have their parents call in to let their teachers know they won’t be in class that day and then spend some time in bed. College students often have more commitments, which may include attending club meetings, doing group projects and doing internships or work off campus. As a college student, you should know what to do when you get sick.

Contact Your Professors

Whether you feel a little tickle in the back of your throat, have a cough and sneeze that just won’t go away or experience intense stomach cramps, you should contact your professors as soon as you realize that you cannot make it to class. Most colleges let you leave a message on a teacher’s voice mail or send a message via email. Explain exactly why you need to miss class, let the teacher know when you will return and ask any questions that you have. You should also ask your professors if there is anything you can do to keep up in your classes.

Take Time Off

Many college students worry about taking time off and possibly falling behind in their courses, but Blake Acquarulo of Her College recommends taking a break from both classes and any activities you usually do. When you have a cold, the flu or just a virus making its way around campus, you need to give your body time to rest, recover and recuperate. This might mean spending a whole day in bed or several days in bed. Take time off from your club meetings, Greek parties, trips to the campus cafe and anything else you usually do.

Notify Your Classmates

Going to college often requires that you spend more time working with others than you did in high school. When you know that you can’t make it to class, take the time to notify your classmates. This is especially important when it comes to group work that you do together, including lab reports or an upcoming group presentation. Let them know that they can contact you by email or phone until you get back on your feet again. You can also contact your classmates to ask if you can copy the notes they take in class.

See a Doctor

Though you may feel comfortable taking over the counter medications, resting and drinking lots of fluids, you may need to see a doctor. Many college campuses have a health clinic or health center that has doctors on-staff who can exam and treat you. You also have the option of seeing a doctor in the neighboring city or even visiting the emergency room of a local hospital. If you have a cough that produced phlegm, are sick for more than several days or experience any unusual symptoms, see a doctor. A simple visit can keep you from spreading that illness to your roommate and around your campus.

Getting sick is never pleasant, but it can be a big pain when you’re in college because even the simplest of viruses can keep you out of class for a whole week. When you’re going to college and feel sick, notify your classmates, take some time off, contact your teachers and see a doctor.

See also: 50 Great Schools Where High School Students Can Get College Credit