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Co-Living Advice

What To Do If My Roommate is Sick

Some roommates have a natural habit of getting on our nerves. Whether they’re always playing loud music, making a mess or dissing our favorite TV shows, sharing a house in NYC is bound to come with its share of challenges.

Sometimes, though, your roommate might be causing stress through no fault of their own. When someone gets sick and they’re living in close proximity to you, what should you do? The first step is to not panic (I’m looking at you: germaphobes). Some people believe that the more you stress about getting sick, the more likely you are to actually become ill. Remind yourself that this isn’t the end of the world and that you can make it through without succumbing to the illness!

Here’s how to avoid catching any nasty bugs while your roomi coughs and sneezes on the other side of the room.

Ask them (politely) to manage the illness properly

Being under the weather has even the most active of us feeling lousy and lethargic. But, if you’re noticing scrunched-up tissues around the room, you can count on those germs making their way over to you. Ask your roommate to properly dispose of their dirty tissues and cover their mouth when they cough. The conversation doesn’t need to be awkward; keep it light and offer to pick up some vitamins, soup and hand sanitizer to help them on the road to recovery.

Become a clean freak

If you’re not already a clean freak, that needs to change. Clean your hands regularly and thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap – especially after contact with the sick person (which, by the way, you should keep to a minimum). 

The same goes for keeping the space clean, too. Keep germs at bay by wiping all surfaces with a disinfectant cleaner, especially focusing on common germ-accommodating spots like door knobs, light switches and tap fixtures. 

Wash shared linen – or avoid it completely

Make yourself helpful as well as healthy by washing linen, which can be a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Take the opportunity to give your sofa a much-needed clean, but if that’s not possible, wash any blankets or cushion covers used in common areas. Your sick roommate might be spending a lot of time moping about on the sofa, so be aware of any contact you have with soft furnishings in there.

On a similar note, avoid using the same towels. Dry your hands with paper towels or keep a towel for your own personal use. If it helps, make sure you both use towels of different colors so there’s no mix-up!

Maintain a healthy diet

Let’s face it; you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to start eating more healthily, anyway. Stock up on fruit and veggies, especially those that are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as kale, spinach and oranges. Basically, green vegetables and foods high in Vitamin C and Vitamin D will all do their bit to protect you from whatever virus circulates. Struggling to pack in more greenery to your diet? Vitamin supplements can help, but there’s no replacement for a clean, healthy diet.

You should also stay hydrated; flush out toxins in your body by drinking plenty of water and green tea, which has high levels of antioxidants. 

Get out of the space whenever you can

The simple fact is that germs love to jump from one body to the next. The safest way to avoid becoming a target is to leave your apartment whenever you can. Get out into the fresh air and explore the affordable fun New York City has to offer or hang out with friends at their place. If you have to study, head to a local library – you’ll appreciate the change of scenery and you might even feel more productive for it.