We have all been guilty of it. At one point or another, each and every one of us has trudged on through a day of classes or work while battling our immune system’s plea that we stay home. Whether it was the flu, the common cold or some other non-life-threatening illness, we have learned in today’s world that it’s more important to suffer through classes and customer service than to “waste” a day at home letting your body heal itself.
Take it from me, you should let your body rest. Let’s create a hypothetical situation. In this situation, you have gotten the flu and are spewing your stomach’s contents every hour. You head to the doctor, who informs you that the best course of action is to let yourself rest and hydrate. But of course, you can’t miss your Molecular & Cellular Biology class. After all, if you miss even one day, you might as well be a week behind. But as you sit in your desk trying to pay attention to the lesson on transport proteins, you feel the medicine you took at breakfast kicking in. Your eyes start to flutter more than a butterfly’s wings in high wind. All of the sudden, your head jerks up at the noise of the class getting out of their seats and exiting the classroom. Did you just sleep through 2/3 of the class? You bet it.
Now let’s look at at a real scenario. Flash back to 15-year-old me. I started feeling the symptoms of the flu and thought nothing of it. Then, before I knew it, I was shivering under my mountain of blankets and wasn’t able to keep anything down. But alas, I had class the next morning. I couldn’t just skip a day, or so my mind thought. Most kids in high school, eager for a three day weekend, would jump at the opportunity to miss a Friday of classes.
I was not most kids, I suppose. I was, however, most Advanced Placement kids. The way I saw it, I couldn’t afford to miss a day filled with a quiz, two AP classes and whatever weekend homework would be assigned. By 10:00 a.m. on that Friday, I would soon regret my decision to go to school sick. In biology class, we were watching the miracle of birth movie. As the narrator trudged on through this documentary, I could feel my stomach protesting me in more urgency than it had the rest of the day. I knew I didn’t have much time. I jumped out of my seat, but as soon as I got to the front of the classroom, every early 2000’s movie chronicling the most embarrassing high school moments began to play through my head.
I stood there and began to look up at my teacher. My stomach was now empty, growling with a fervor matched only by the first of my mother’s home-cooked meals after a long stretch at college. Miraculously, I wasn’t horrified by my vomiting in front of my entire class. In fact, I took it as a slap in the face. I ignored my body’s pleas to stay home. And to put salt in the wound, I went to work the next day. As a cashier, this was a horrible decision. I managed to sustain myself for my shift, but I knew I should have stayed home.
There are certain expectations we all face, whether it be from our parents, society or ourselves. Do yourself a favor and stay home if you get sick. Of course, having a common cold is nothing to skip your classes for, but learn to take it easy. If you find yourself in need of a box of tissues or ginger ale and crackers, let your couch be your friend and don’t go out that night.
In an article by the New York Post, they argue that going to work (or school, in this case) sick actually decreases your productivity. You become so focused on just making it through the day that it isn’t even worth it, because as your eyes droop from Benadryl and your nose becomes raw from Kleenex, that report you have been working on has become sub-par.
If, however, you insist on going to class sick, take some advice from a professional at sickly duty:
- Carry tissues with you.
This goes especially for those with a cold or any sort of sickness whose nose is leaking more than normal. Going up to the front of the classroom for a tissue or going to the bathroom every ten minutes is not good. If you have tissues on hand, you can feel better by not having to jump up in front of the entire class every few minutes.
- If you have a cough, invest in some cough drops.
I used to never eat cough drops when I had a cough or sore throat until it became apparent that my coughing insistently in class distracted not only my fellow classmates, but myself as well.
- If seating is optional, change your seat that day to be close to the door.
If you have some sort of stomach bug, you want to be as close to the door as possible to run to the loo just in case. If you have a cold, stay close to the door in case your nose decides to channel Niagara Falls and flow with a power and fortitude that you have yet to witness.
- Dress warm if the weather is cold.
Most of our temporary illnesses occur when it is cold out, so make sure you dress warm. Trying to stomp around Gannon’s campus is miserable if you are sick and you have omitted a scarf and gloves. A great deal of being a trooper through being sick is making sure you put yourself first so you are comfortable and ready to battle on through it.
- HYDRATE. HYDRATE. HYDRATE.
This is possibly the most important. Hydrate well and hydrate often. Whatever ailment you have, your body needs to be well-hydrated to be able to heal itself and fight off illness. If you are well-hydrated, your body will thank you and use its full force to pull you out of the trenches. Get your body to be the headquarters for the hydration station.
- Go to the Health & Counseling Center.
I am no doctor, so while I have experience trying to get through a day of responsibilities whilst battling sickness, my advice is nothing compared to that of an experienced professional. The medical professionals at the Health & Counseling Center, located at the Harborview Apartments on 6th Street, will provide all Gannon students with the best care they can provide. Do yourself a favor and go there if your ailment persists.