Beating the Penn State Plague

Photo by Steph Distasio

It’s a dark and quiet classroom, another average day in the Valley. You hear nothing but the sound of fellow classmates writing in their books and typing on their laptops, when all of a sudden you hear it: the sniffle of a runny nose or a cough behind you. Before you know it, half the class has broken out into an ugly, dissonant medley of sniffling, coughing and sneezing.

It’s that time of year again. You can run, you can hide, but if someone is sick on this campus, Valley can guarantee that everyone is going to catch it. This sickness is none other than the Penn State Plague. It won’t stop until it has taken down the immune system of every student on campus.

The Penn State Plague is nearly unavoidable in nature, but luckily, if you take the necessary precautions, it should last no longer than a few days, leaving you feeling better in time for the big game on Saturday.

If you want to get healthy, you have to eat healthy. One of the most important parts of taking care of yourself is watching what you put into your body. The fruits and veggies that you’ve been avoiding are your savior this time.

The power of water is never to be underestimated, either. The risk of dehydration and nausea are incredibly high when sick and water is naturally cleansing for the body. Hot liquids such as soup, tea, and hot lemonade are all excellent ways to soothe the throat. Spicy foods create a similar effect as natural decongestants. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons contain Vitamin C, which, albeit, don’t cure illnesses, but they can lessen the symptoms and can speed up recovery time.

Next, consider cleaning up. You’re sick and there’s probably nothing you want to do more than lie in bed, but you should think about washing your sheets that you’ve been coughing on and throwing used tissues all over. Otherwise, you’re going to be lying around in the very germs that you’re trying to get away from. Purell and Lysol are your new best friends. Wash your hands before and after touching anything. Spray everything in your room: your bed, your desk, your roommate, EVERYTHING. The smell may be overpowering, but it’s worth it in the end.

For symptom relief, look in stores for medication such as Tylenol, Advil, Aleve or Ibuprofen. They won’t cure you but they’ll help you survive the day without feeling like you’re on the verge of death every time your throat dries up and your eyes start to water. The final thing to monitor is how much sleep you get. As college students, we are trained to fight the urge to sleep at all costs, but you’re body can’t get better unless you allow it to get the proper rest it needs to function. Go buy some Nyquil, and it’ll be the best sleep you’ve ever had.

Valley highly suggests that, even though your sick, you do your best to go to as many classes as you can. If you start to feel like you can’t fight this illness alone, take a visit to the University Health Center to get a proper diagnosis and prescribed medication. Notify your professors immediately and ask them or someone in class for the notes. Valley wishes you the best of luck as the sick season approaches.