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Teaching is a profession that should come with a health warning.

Indeed, spending several hours a day with kids means that teachers are exposed to various germs daily, and some virus strikes most teachers during the dreaded flu season. Unfortunately, teaching is also a profession characterized by presenteeism. Most teachers are passionate about helping the kids in their classes achieve their potential daily, meaning many will do everything possible to avoid taking sick days.

So what should teachers do when they feel sick, tired, and worn down? Fortunately, as detailed below, several remedies are available to help you power through and avoid calling in a substitute teacher when illness strikes. Remember that you should not feel guilty about taking a day off if you are too sick to function. You are only human and deserve a little respite from time to time!

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1. Harness the power of sleep

Sleep boosts the immune system and can help the body fight infection. This way, managing a few extra minutes of sleep when you’re sick can help speed up recovery. Try getting an early night if possible or – if you’re a problem sleeper – take some sleeping aids for a night or two.

2. Clear your sinuses with a hot shower

If your head is pounding due to blocked sinuses, try taking a hot and steamy shower. The steam will help to clear your sinuses and allow you to start the day feeling a little brighter and more alert.

3. Get your daily dose of vitamins

Vitamins are vital for building up the body’s defenses and helping you get back on your feet. While vitamin pills are certainly an option, vitamin-rich whole foods are more effective (and delicious). For a guide to the kinds of foods, you should be eating, check out this article from Healthline.

4. Try and spruce yourself up in the morning

Just because you’re feeling ropey does not mean you have to look it. Spruce yourself with your favorite clothes and slick on a little make-up if you are inclined. If you look good on the outside, you are likelier to feel good on the inside.

5. Feel free to take a few painkillers

Don’t forget about the power of Ibuprofen or Paracetamol. These simple medications can tackle a number of the symptoms associated with colds and the flu, including:

  • Headaches
  • Sinus pain
  • High fever
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Throat pain

You may even be able to find medications specifically catering to colds that contain extra ingredients such as caffeine and sinus-unblocking ingredients.

6. Don’t forget to eat and drink well and regularly

Many teachers skip lunch during busy working days, but this practice will only make you feel worse when you’re sick. Prioritize eating and drinking throughout the day, and treat yourself to some warming soup to keep chills at bay.

7. Bring your hand sanitizer along

Although you are giving your students a great service by turning up while sick, ensure you do not spread your germs around. Try to keep your distance from students and bring a hand sanitizer to class.

8. Don’t be tempted to stay late

Don’t feel pressured to take on overtime if you’re feeling unwell. Prioritize your recovery and head home for a nap or a session of binge-watching your favorite shows. You deserve it!