Challenge #2: Strep, Cold or Covid?


Sophie Young

Illustration by Preston Randall

Of the many firsts this semester, my least favorite is my first cold.

Driving back to Kent after a visit home on Labor Day, my throat felt the tiniest bit sore. A week and a box of tissues later, I finally began to recover from whatever I’d gotten.

Although I usually get a cold like this about once a year, it was different this time. After a year like 2020, we are more serious about sickness of any kind, and rightfully so: we live in the age of COVID-19.

After every cough and sniffle, I looked around the classroom, sure someone would be staring at me. People are more nervous about symptoms like these now, and I was one of them. I called my mom, and she sent me a chart comparing cold symptoms to coronavirus symptoms. 

I checked that chart every day, and I’m vaccinated.

It never hurts to check. After fluids, a little extra sleep and plenty of off-brand DayQuil, I’m healed and ready to help you. Whether it’s allergies from the changing seasons, strep, a cold or possibly COVID-19, there are resources to use and steps to take.

This week, one of my friends is starting to feel under the weather as well. She always says it’s like a game of roulette: “Is it strep, a cold or COVID-19?” The first step to feeling better is identifying what the problem is.

There are three options for coronavirus testing. First, if you are showing symptoms, call the DeWeese Health Center and set up an appointment. If you aren’t showing any usual COVID-19 symptoms, check out testing options at Eastway, the Ice Arena, the MACC or Dunbar Hall. Finally, you can stay in your dorm and use a self-testing kit with an online proctor.

Kent State and President Todd Diacon are also vocal, encouraging students to do the “two-step” of vaccination and masking-up. Of course, prevention is the best way to keep us all on campus.

In my situation, I didn’t know what I had. All I knew was I didn’t want to spread it. I left work early, stayed home from class and called my mom. Part of growing up is learning to do things for yourself, but at the moment I was stuck in bed missing my family.

I dragged myself out of bed and went to CVS to stock up on ginger ale, crackers and cold medicine. Thankfully, I healed quickly. 

Whether it is strep, cold or COVID-19, you don’t want to spread it. We all need resources to take care of our health, so prepare to stay in for a while and reach out for information.