You know the feeling all too well. The itchy, watery eyes. The nose rubbed raw from one too many tissues. The aching muscles that refuse to let you get out of bed, let alone go to class.

Everyone gets sick, at some point or another. As I laid in bed last week with a 101-degree fever and a throat swelled up to the size of a softball, I realized I had no cough drops. Womp womp. In fact, the day before, my mother had to bring me a thermometer. How was I — the girl who gets sick all the time — so blissfully unprepared?

If you’re going to be miserable, the least you can do is have a full stock of meds and other necessities on hand! Make sure you have these tools of the trade in your medicine cabinet (or, in my case, my repurposed Vera Bradley “medicine” bag). Might as well make being sick a little glamorous, right?
  • A thermometer: This is one of the first things you’ll need to gauge how sick you actually are. If you’re over 98 or under 96, make sure you take some medicine.
  • Ibuprofen: I tend to stick with Advil Liquid Gels, because they dissolve and get to work pretty quickly. These are great for headaches, fevers, cramps, sore muscles… really, just a huge range of symptoms and issues! If you’re going to have only one thing in your medicine kit, ibuprofen should be it.
  • Tums or Pepto-Bismal: Let me guess, you had Chipotle for lunch. Or maybe it was Taco Bell. Either way, at some point, you’ll need a calcium-based antacid to bail you out of your too-long stint in the bathroom. I prefer Tums because¬†– let’s face it – Pepto-Bismal tastes like chalk.
  • Cough drops: I absolutely dread waking up with a sore throat… it just gets my day off to such a sour start! I always keep a variety of cough drops on hand to suppress any cough I may have, and soothe my aching throat. Usually I like the tropical flavors by Halls, or I’ll grab the Honey Lemon flavor if I want to clear out my sinuses as well.
  • Midol: It had to be said. All girls need something for those days when Advil just won’t cut it. (You could also stock up on some Pamprin, but I find Midol to be a bit stronger and thus more effective.) PMS, do your worst!
  • Hot wrap: I love my reusable hot/cold wrap. When a pulled muscle (or more cramps) strike, I just pop that baby in the microwave in increments of 30 seconds. Hello, heaven. (Added bonus: also great for your neck when you want to relax!)
  • Dayquil/Nyquil tablets: I don’t know about you, but I hate swallowing liquids. They taste gross, and I make weird faces that make me look ridiculous. I much prefer the tablet versions of both Dayquil and Nyquil for all of my cold-related needs.
  • Allergy tablets: Now, these depend on personal preference. I tend to stick with Claritin, while my boyfriend swears by Benadryl. If you’ve ever felt so allergy-ridden you could double for Sneezy the dwarf, these babies are crucial.
  • Optional – nasal spray and eye drops: Okay, I have to admit, I rarely need either of these. But when I do need them, and they’re not in my medicine bag, I’m mad at myself. Better safe than sorry, right?
  • My secret weapon – NettiPot Squeeze Bottle: I hate when my sinuses are clogged. As a singer, I often need to get rid of that gunk fast if I have a show or an important rehearsal coming up. All you do is fill the squeeze bottle with saline solution, and it runs through your sinuses and clears them out. Gross, I know, but completely effective. I swear by this thing.
This may seem like a lot of medicine, but truthfully, it’s part and parcel of being an adult. You want to be well-stocked because, well, who wants to run out to CVS at 11:30 at night when you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus? Remember, most pharmacies and grocery stores will ask to see your license before they’ll sell you any kind of medicine – you have to be over 18. Make sure you always check the expiration dates before you take anything, and make it a habit of cleaning out your medicine kit at least every¬†other month. Keep everything room temperature, and don’t be afraid to toss out anything that you’re unsure of. Stay healthy!