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Sickness Abroad: The Roman Run Down

The end of this week marks one month abroad. One whole month of experiencing a new culture, tasting new foods, learning a new language, traveling, late nights, and little sleep. At this point, I’d bet money that many of you are starting to feel a little run down. And what happens when you get run down…you get sick. And there’s nothing worse than being sick in a foreign country. I can attest to that! Far away from home and unfamiliar with medical procedures and the language. What are you to do when you're hit with the Roman run down?

First Things First: Don’t Ignore it!

Go to the farmacia (pharmacy) or, if it’s more serious than the common cold, a doctor. You can walk into any farmacia and describe your symptoms to the pharmacist and they will pick medicine to suit the severity of your ailment. Although not many will be fluent in English, you can easily get by with hand gestures, ask your Italian teacher to write down your symptoms in Italian for you, or use our good friend Google translate. Regardless of how you explain it, they’ll be able to tell you how often and how much of your medication to take.

 Where to talk to a pharmacist and get your meds

Second: Stay Hydrated!

Although wine may be cheaper than water here in Italy, it is important to stay hydrated with good old fashion H2O! Thankfully, there are a plethora of water fountains throughout the city and water from the tap is safe to drink. Invest in a reusable water bottle or buy a small case of larger water bottles at the market. I usually buy a giant plastic water bottle that I refill and reuse for a couple days. (Something I picked up from my boyfriend back home.) Whatever you do, just be sure to get your daily suggested amount of water, especially when you’re feeling sick. It can help ease symptoms and promote a faster recovery.

 My three best friends last weekend

Third, SLEEP!

My best bit of advice to anyone starting to feel sick: stay home for the night and get some rest. Your body will thank you the next day. When I started to feel a tickle in my throat, I thought ehh no problem, I can still go out tonight. Boy was I wrong. I woke up the next morning with that heavy “man cough” and felt horrible. Yes, you will feel some FOMO (fear of missing out), but running yourself down even further will only result in more missed activities. Particularly when you’re quarantining yourself in your bedroom most of the weekend with the lights off surviving on cough syrup and throat spray--my actual account of Friday and Saturday. Trust me, it was not fun! I can think of plenty of other things I could have experienced in those precious two days. We may be here for nearly four months, but how many weekends are you actually in your host city between all your other planned adventures? Don’t waste your weekends home sick in bed. Take my advice and just take the night off and keep yourself healthy. There is too much to be missed if you don’t!

Courtney Blanchard is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO in Rome, Italy. She is currently a senior at Stockton University.

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