How to deal with sickness away from home

By Alena Hanson
Staff Writer

Getting sick is an inevitable part of living on one’s own, and dormitories, in particular, can be a breeding ground for contagious diseases. Airborne illnesses spread quickly when one’s living quarters are so confined. If one person gets sick, it’s really hard to prevent his or her living mate from getting it.

What makes getting sick at school worse is the fact that while living in a dorm, no parents are around to help. Instead of having someone there to hand over the correct amount of medicine or fix some water and a wet cloth, college students have to peel themselves off their own beds and make their own way through the daily routine.

Here are my tips on how to manage those unexpected, unavoidable sick days:

  1. At the sign of the first symptom, take medicine. Catching it early will decrease the full-on effect of the illness.
  2. Sore throats and coughs can be suppressed by the benefits of honey and warm liquids.
  3. If symptoms persist, contact health services immediately.
  4. Get help from a friend. A friend can provide moral support, physical assistance and help the ill person keep track of the doctor’s instructions and information.

Though these tips can be effective in curing sickness, sometimes it’s unavoidable. In that case, Piedmont has a special program that allows resident assistants, or RAs, to retrieve bags for their residents that contain a can of soup, a drink and even a spoon to eat the soup.

Junior psychology major and RA in Getman-Babcock, Sloane Day, brought her resident, freshman nursing major, Meghan Picklesiemer, one of these bags.

Picklesiemer said, “Soup was all I craved, but the cafeteria is not serving it, yet. I was so thankful that [Day] gave me the bag. It’s a wonderful thing to have on campus.”

 She later had to go to PrimeCare and was seen with no charge, which is another option Piedmont students have access.


Located inside Habersham Medical Center, PrimeCare is available to help with those unexpected illnesses. This may be necessary in an instance when primary care physicians are unavailable. Visits are by appointment only. The Piedmont College website has a section on healthcare service, and it reads: “For a full-time student living on campus an office visit is free of charge (not including tests or medications). You must show your valid student ID.”

With flu season fast approaching, keep in mind that it’s also important to get an adequate amount of sleep, to not skip meals, stay up-to-date with immunizations, disinfect everything and wash hands thoroughly and often. When taken seriously, these tips can hopefully prevent illnesses on Piedmont’s campus.