How to Fake Symptoms of Being Sick

Five Methods:Getting Into CharacterFake a FeverFake Upset StomachFake Cold or Flu SymptomsFaking Illness Over the Phone

Trying to avoid school or work? Need to throw your significant other of his/her game so you can throw him/her a huge surprise party or dinner? Playing a sick character in a play? Just feel lazy and want to rest for the day? Knowing how to fake an illness can come in handy.

Method 1
Getting Into Character

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    Decide what illness you are going to fake. Ideally you want something that incapacitates you from major responsibilities without being so serious that others will take you to the doctor or hospital. A cold, fever, or 24-hour bug are all good options. Make sure you know the symptoms you want to fake, and limit your performance to just those.
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    Start mentioning symptoms the day before you want to fake the sickness. If you're wanting to stay home from school Monday, act tired and sluggish on Sunday. Say you aren't feeling well, or have a slight headache. Don't eat much and go to bed early. This way when you start showing more severe symptoms it will be more believable.
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    Jog your memory. You've been sick before, and people have noticed. Think about what it felt like, and what other people noticed the most when you were sick? Try to replicate those symptoms and channel that feeling. It'll be much easier to convince people that you have come down with something you have had before, rather than tackling a whole new ailment.
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    Make your face pale. If you have green concealer, rub it on your cheeks and forehead to make you appear pale. Don't paint your face green, just slightly change the color of your skin.
    • Make sure you know how to apply makeup effectively. If you are obviously wearing makeup, you are sure to be caught.
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    • If you use makeup, try to avoid being touched. You'll be found out if someone puts their hand on your face and the concealer comes off.
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    Pretend you're dizzy and lightheaded. Walk slower, with shorter steps. Take your time when getting out of bed or a chair. When you stand up at your desk, pretend to lose your balance a little bit and put your hand on your desk to "regain" your balance.
    • To remember what being dizzy feels like, wait until you are in private and spin around until you get a little dizzy. Make note of how it feels and how you're acting. When you're in front of others, replicate that behavior, but only slightly.
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    Act uncomfortable. People who are sick don't feel good, so don't joke around and laugh and smile too much. Give people the impression that you're disoriented and "in your own world." If you're the kind of person who gets cranky when you're sick, then get cranky. Don't appear to take joy in the things you normally take joy in. If you're invited to the movies, and you usually love to go to the movies, turn it down.
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    Be sluggish. Stay in bed if you can. It's a natural reaction to want to rest and sleep a lot when you're sick. It's your body's way of giving itself time to fight the sickness and heal. Nod off or put your head down on your desk occasionally. Whenever you're given the chance, curl up on the closest couch you can find.
    • Pretend to shiver while in bed, even if under the covers.
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    Act like you're upset about being sick. Being legitimately ill is not fun, and often leaves you with lots to catch up on. Tell people you wish you could make it to the activities you are skipping, and apologize for the inconvenience you might cause. Never seem really happy that you can stay home. Tiredly mumble "ok" and pretend to go back to sleep.
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    Don't suddenly get better. If you successfully convince people you are sick, they will start to become suspicious again if you are back to 100% immediately after your sick day. If your parents decide to let you stay home, don't start smiling and acting energetic again until a few hours after school lets out.

Method 2
Fake a Fever

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    Make your face hot and sweaty. A fever is a classic illness to fake, since they often imply that you are contagious and the best treatment is usually bed rest. People with fevers have faces and foreheads that are usually hot, though they themselves feel cold. There are a number of ways to give yourself the appearance of a feverish face.
    • Take a hot shower without getting your hair wet.
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    • Blow on your face with a blow dryer.
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    • Rub water on your face to make it seem sweaty.
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    • Heat your face for a few minutes with a heating pad or hot water bottle when no one is looking.
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    • Rub your face vigorously with your hands.
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    • Lay down on your back with your head hanging off the edge of your bed so that all the blood flows to it.
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    Cover yourself with many layers of clothes and blankets. They will make you sweat, but people will think you are cold too. Pretend to shiver, no matter how much you bundle yourself up. A cold sweat is one important symptom of a cold or fever.
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    Tamper with your thermometer. If a parent or nurse leaves you alone with a thermometer in your mouth, there are a few things you can do to give yourself an artificially high temperature. Just make sure you don't get it too high—it will either be obvious that you faked the results or they will take you to the doctor or hospital to treat your dangerously high temperature.
    • Drink hot water before putting the thermometer in your mouth.
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    • Touch the thermometer to a hot light bulb for a second.
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    • Shake the thermometer vigorously by the metal tip. This will push the mercury out towards the high end of the thermometer. Of course, this doesn't work with digital thermometers.
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Method 3
Fake Upset Stomach

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    Display a decline in appetite. Only pick at your food, and avoid finishing even things that you usually like.
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    Occasionally rub your stomach. Do this with an uncomfortable look on your face. You don't have to say anything at first, but do mention your stomach (or if you are a small kid, your tummy) if someone asks you what is wrong.
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    Keep a bowl or bucket by you. Even if you never use it, this implies that you are on the verge of throwing up. Once in a while pick it up and stare into it with disconcert, as though hit by a wave of nausea.
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    Spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Whether from vomiting or diarrhea, people make frequent and long trips to the bathroom when sick to their stomach. You don't need to make a spectacle out of it, but rushing to the bathroom a few times an hour will definitely get noticed.
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    Pretend to throw up. Run into the bathroom and make a loud heaving, retching noise, then dump a glass of water into the toilet and flush. Repeat a couple times, then take a minute to "wash up" before walking out looking miserable.
    • Most of the time people won't want to see your vomit, so this sound performance should be enough. You can also make fake vomit and pour it in the toilet while you pretend to throw up.
    • If you are eating soup, put broth in your mouth and pretend like you swallowed it. Then make your cheeks wide, like you brought the broth back up, and run to the bathroom to spit it in the toilet.

Method 4
Fake Cold or Flu Symptoms

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    Breathe only through your mouth. It's tough to fake a runny nose if you don't have one, but you can fake being stuffed up. Breathe only through your mouth and talk a little slower. Sniffle occasionally with short inward sniffs.
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    Shiver and pretend that you are freezing. Wear many layers of clothing or curl up under several blankets. Take an icy cold shower to make your skin chilly to the touch.
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    Fake sneezing or coughing. This is a risky move. Either of these, if done unconvincingly, can let on that you aren't actually sick. Faking a cough is definitely easier than faking a sneeze, but even that can sound forced if you aren't careful.
    • You could also make yourself sneeze, by sniffing pepper. For some sleight of hand, sprinkle pepper in a sweater and pretend to rub your nose on it. Sniff in the pepper to make yourself sneeze.
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    Apply a small amount of toothpaste onto your bottom eyelids to make your eyes watery. Make sure it's near but not in your eyes. Leave the toothpaste on for about three minutes to make your eyes feel like they're burning.

Method 5
Faking Illness Over the Phone

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    Make your voice sound different. If you need to call your boss to take off work, you need to sound the part to avoid suspicion.
    • Speak slightly slower. Pause occasionally for a second in the middle of your sentences. Don't be too quick to answer. Remember, you are sick and sluggish.
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    • Try to breathe through your mouth to sound like you have a stuffed up nose.
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    Play up how contagious you are. Your boss might not care how you feel, but if you are going to get the rest of your coworkers sick that's another matter. Mention that you think you caught your illness from someone else. Explain that you are coughing or sneezing and your nose is running all over the place.
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    Cough or sneeze. Don't do this directly into the phone—you don't do that in real life, do you? Hold the phone a reasonable distance away from you and cough or sneeze loudly. Then apologize and continue the conversation.
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    Fake the sounds of vomit. Pour one or two large glasses of water and make your call while sitting by the toilet. If you really need to sound sick, stop in the middle of talking to make a retching and gurgling noise and pour the glass of water. That should simulate the sounds of throwing up.
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    Don't overdo it. One of the quickest ways to arouse suspicion is to ham it up. If you can just ask to take a sick day without giving too many details, you are less likely to get caught in your web of lies.


  • Wait for your parents to ask you about staying home. If they bring it up you have much better chances of success than if you have to ask.
  • Don't do this too often; at some point, people will grow suspicious.
  • Pretend to neglect doing simple tasks like putting on deodorant, brushing your hair, or brushing your teeth.
  • If you want to give yourself an upset stomach, get up about half an hour earlier than you usually do and eat about three or four garlic cloves.
  • Less is more when talking to authority figures. If you can simply tell your boss that you need to take a sick day, don't go into any more details unless he or she asks. The more complicated your lies are, the more likely you are to trip yourself up.
  • It may help to make your face look flushed - this can be achieved by applying liberal amounts of blush, especially to the cheeks.
  • Keep a log book of dates, excuses and why you wanted to fake sick. Make sure you don't let any obvious patterns develop that others could pick up on.
  • Keep a bucket/bin nearby if you're faking a stomach bug. For added effect, sit up and reach for it sometimes, as if you're about to be sick.
  • When talking to your parents, talk to them with either a rough voice or a soft voice to where they can hardly understand you.
  • Try to avoid doing things you like doing for fun, for example: Xbox, PlayStation, or doing stuff on the computer or your laptop!
  • Do not do any active activities - you are sick, so you don't have the energy for it!
  • Regardless of how well it goes be sure your parents don't wind up taking you to the doctor. Wasting money like that isn't right. Just keep on saying "I'll see how I feel."
  • Look miserable around the house, to do this try to relax your shoulders down, hunch your back a little and relax the muscles in your face so your eyes and mouth go down.
  • Don't tell anybody you're faking an illness! They might slip and let your secret go.
  • Be really quiet around your parents and lie down a lot.
  • If you usually wear makeup, don't put any on and don't do any thing you would normally do.
  • Spend a lot of time in the bathroom making vomiting noises, but don't over do it people may come in and check on you - especially your parents.


  • If you stay home be careful not to get up or do stuff for a while even when your parents have left. There's a possibility that they might come back if they forgot something, or just to check up on you.
  • Don't take any medicine for symptoms that you are only faking. This could be dangerous. If it's a pill, put it in your mouth and under your tongue, pretend to swallow it, and throw it away when nobody's looking.
  • Especially if you are in school, don't fake symptoms that are embarrassing. Coughing, fever, vomiting are fine, but telling people you had diarrhea might earn you some unkind jeers.
  • Be wary of "crying wolf." If people catch on that you fake being sick, they may not take you seriously when you actually do get sick and need their help.
  • Delete this page from your browser history. Others are sure to call you out if they stumble upon signs of research and planning.

Article Info

Categories: Feigning Illness