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Olivia Fine / Columbia Daily Spectator

Have you been in class lately and have had difficulty hearing the professor because of the cacophony of coughing? If you’re a Columbia or Barnard student, probably! It seems as though everyone on campus is sick these days, whether they’re suffering from a cold, strep throat, or the plague. If you haven’t gotten it, trust me, you will. So, what can we—as broke college students with sore throats—do in these times of crisis? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: Here’s a list of options from dorm remedies to resources offered on campus.

1. Honey

Honey can be mixed with tea, lemon juice, or cayenne pepper to help heal a sore throat. Research has found that this sugary substance can calm nighttime coughing. So next time you’re in the dining halls, pick up a few packets of honey near the tea and coffee stations.

2. Tea

Speaking of the tea stations, the tea itself can help alleviate a sore throat as well. While most people go for the soothing properties of chamomile, pomegranate tea can actually be effective in reducing inflammation. If all else fails, Throat Coat is the way to go. Made from licorice root and slippery elm, this tea is used to coat your throat and reduce irritation.

3. Salt Water

Probably the quickest thing to make on this list, salt water is a natural treatment for sore throats. Gargle a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt to reduce the mucus in your throat. For best results, gargle warm salt water once every few hours.

4. Cough Suppressants

While cough suppressants do not actually cure sore throats, they can alleviate some of the symptoms. Next time you pass by Duane Reade, grab some products like sore throat spray or menthol lozenges; they’ll provide a cooling sensation that numbs the throat, leading to reduced coughing and less scratchiness.

5. Garlic

This one might sound a bit strange, but it’s true. Garlic contains a compound called allicin which can kill bacteria that cause a sore throat. Also, the oils within the herb can reduce irritation. There are many ways to use garlic to help heal a sore throat. It can be eaten as a paste or drunk as a tea. It can also be mixed with honey, lemon juice, or milk to provide a bad-tasting but beneficial beverage to help you breathe easily.

6. Columbia/Barnard Health Services

Columbia College, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and School of General Studies students can visit the fourth floor of John Jay Hall to meet with a clinician at Columbia Medical Services. Barnard students can go to the lower level of Brooks Hall for a medical appointment at the Primary Care Health Service. While scheduling an appointment in either location is relatively simple via the online portals, many appointment times are booked already. You can also go for a walk-in appointment, but make sure to go in early! You don’t want to get stuck spending the day in a waiting room.

The best way to feel better will come with rest and water, so make sure you’re getting enough of both. Schoolwork is important but your physical well-being is more so. Feel better, Columbia!

Spectrum trainee Ariana Novo can be contacted at

Sick Healing Dorm Sore Throat
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