With many campuses doing contact tracing in order to control outbreaks of COVID-19, your student may be required to isolate in their room after being exposed to someone who's tested positive for the virus. They may even test positive themselves and experience a (hopefully mild) case.
Here are some things to make sure they have on hand to get through quarantine!
Medicine! Make sure they have pain or fever relief, tea and honey, tissues, cough drops, a thermometer and anything else that helps when they’re sick. If they tend to have an upset stomach when they’re under the weather, include some kind of nausea relief (whether that be medication, teas or good old-fashioned ginger ale). You know your student best, so include whatever you think would be helpful for them!
Sustenance! It’s a good idea to have a few basics ready in case they do need to quarantine so they don't need to rely entirely on their school-provided meal packages. It’s understandable that these options may not be palatable to them when they’re sick. Here are some things that might help:
Sanitization! This has never been more important than in the midst of a global pandemic. If possible, help them stock up on things like disposable cutlery, paper plates, masks and gloves to help protect your student and their roommates during quarantine. Disposable products will make it easier for them to keep their space clean while sick and will also help limit the exposure to other people.
Being sick is truly the worst, and it makes all of us desperate for any source of comfort. Though there are many over-the-counter remedies that can alleviate symptoms, nostalgic comfort can go a long way too!
Consider what makes your student feel the most at home — things like fluffy blankets, heated blankets or even a personal massager may help a lot. It can be as simple as their favorite canned soup or tea, or even just hearing your voice over the phone. Here are some of my favorites when I’m sick:
Heated blankets: Chills are the worst and a fluffy heated blanket is the best kind of comfort. They’re a perfect way to stay warm and cozy, while having the added benefit of soothing sore bodies.
Fever relief patches: Though these are mostly used on babies or young children, I love using cooling patches whenever I have a fever. It could be the nostalgia from when my mom used to give them to me, but the cold is often a welcome relief from the heat and pain of a fever. Ice packs can help, too, but I appreciate how easy it is to open a packet and have it immediately available compared to making sure I have something frozen whenever I might need it.
Personal massager: If I’m being honest, back massagers are always a personal favorite of mine but most especially when I’m sick and feeling out of sorts. It makes spending so much time in bed a little extra enjoyable and can help with stiff or sore muscles.
Ways to Stave Off Boredom
Of course quarantining, while necessary, can be incredibly boring. Being stuck in a room alone can get to anyone, and your student may find themselves hard pressed for entertainment.
Depending on how they’re feeling, it may be that some of their usual activities are a bit too strenuous for them. It’s important that they take this time to rest and recover, but they can always binge movies, read or enjoy some of their usual indoor hobbies. We have suggestions for a little of everything whether your student is looking for a new TV show, movie, book or online game.
Most importantly, make sure you both set aside some time to call and check in with one another, to help prevent loneliness (and worry)!
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Ianni Le is a freelance writer and content creator. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, graduating with a degree in Media Design and English Literature. Ianni grew up in Shanghai, China and enjoys her dogs, books and food equally.