How Sick Are You?

Your head feels like it is about to explode, your skin is cold and clammy, and you feel like one more sneeze will be the end of your runny nose. Ever wonder just what exactly is wrong with you? Is it the cold or the flu? Or do you have the dread “kissing disease,” mono? Check your symptoms to find out how to treat your illness.

Cold symptoms can include runny, stuffy nose, sore throat, frequent sneezing, chest discomfort and coughing, and mild fatigue. Scientists are still working on a medication to relieve all the symptoms of the common cold, but for now the drug store is the best place to go. Sudafed will take care of your nose, and rest and orange juice should make you feel better. Most mothers highly recommend chicken soup.

This website has information on symptoms, on what causes the common cold, and all the nasty stuff that goes on inside your body to make you feel yucky:

Flu symptoms such as high fever, extreme exhaustion, aches and pains, chest pain and coughing, and sometimes a runny nose or sneezing can become serious if you do not take care of yourself. Influenza can develop into bronchitis or pneumonia. If you are particularly susceptible to the flu, a flu shot is available. It is a vaccine against some of the common strains of flu. Although this will not fully prevent you from getting sick if you run into a rogue strain, it can make quite a difference if you have a weak immune system. This Center for Disease Control website is informative, if a little dry:

If you have symptoms for more than a few weeks, you may have mononucleosis. Mono is often misdiagnosed because symptoms resemble strep throat or the flu. If you think you may have mono, the health center can do a blood test for it.

Symptoms for mono are extreme fatigue, low-grade fever, headache, loss of appetite, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and an enlarged spleen.

Unfortunately, there is no specific medication to get rid of mono. Only the symptoms of mono can be treated, not the virus. Tylenol and plenty of rest are most recommended. For more information on mono, the following websites should be helpful:,and

If your symptoms persist for more than two weeks, then a trip to the health center would be wise. If you do not want to get sick in the first place, there are a few things you can do every day to boost your resistance. Eat regularly, drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, take a multivitamin, bundle up when it is chilly outside, and, of course, always be careful sharing anything with sick people. Wash your hands frequently and wear shower shoes, and you should be all set.