Every single semester, like clockwork, I get sick right before or right after finals week. The stress of the exams, pulling all-nighters, and eating absolutely junk weakens my immune system to guarantee that soon, I’ll be infected with some horrible bug. To prevent having to drag my tired, grumpy, sick self from bed during one of these times, I assemble a sick day kit in the first few weeks of the semester.

[P.S. This is kit is also a great savior when that massive hangover hits.]

The first thing you need to do is find a box to keep all of your sick day essentials in. I like to pick something small – around the size of a shoebox or so – to store everything in. You could use an actual shoebox or you could purchase a plastic version. If you plan on storing things like a neti pot or a humidifier, then you’ll need something bigger to accommodate that stuff.
What goes in your sick day kit, you ask?

NyquilThe first thing I always put in there is some sort of hydration. You could include Pedialyte or powdered versions of Gatorade (or even an actual bottle of Gatorade if you have the space). I like to cut my Gatorade with water to cut down on the sugar while still getting all the electrolytes.

Then I load in my favorite medications to cover all the basics – things like ibuprofen (or your favorite pain and fever reducer), Pepto Bismol for any tummy troubles, benadryl for allergies, and my favorite cold medicine. When buying cold medicine, I make sure it includes pseudoephedrine (even though it is now kept behind the pharmacy counter) because it is the only thing that seems to work for me. If you regularly suffer from another ailment, add that medication in here too. If you want to be really prepared, invest in some nice tissues – like the kinds that are anti-viral or include lotion. Good tissues prevent you from looking like Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer when you’ve been blowing your nose for three days straight.

If you prefer to not take medications or prefer to go homeopathic, it is a good idea to include a container of honey and your favorite tea – nothing calms a cough and soothes the senses like a warm cup of tea. This would also be a good time to include any homeopathic remedies into your kit.

My sick day kit also includes some basic first aid items – things like band aids and anti-bacterial ointment. If you play sports, it would probably be a good idea to include things like braces, supports, and hot and cold packs.

Once all of the basics are included, I start to load in any special medications and emergency information. Having a list of all prescriptions that you are currently taking and emergency contact information – you never know when an emergency could strike and having this information can make the difference between life and death. Plus, if anything horrible were to happen, you’re roommate knows who in your family to contact.

Do you have a sick day kit? If you do, what sorts of things are included in it?

[Photo Credit to Flickr User Ghindo]