How to Pretend You Are Not Sick

Three Methods:Acting Like You're HealthyReducing Your SymptomsHiding Your Sickness

Sometimes people find themselves in a situation where they have to pretend they aren’t sick, such as going on a job interview, starting new job, or going on a planned trip. Although the practice is highly unhealthy and in most cases can actually prolong your illness, sometimes you can’t stay in bed.[1] Luckily, there are things you can do in order to pretend like you’re not sick and still fulfill your commitments.

Method 1
Acting Like You're Healthy

  1. Image titled Develop a Perfect Speaking Voice Step 1
    Keep an energetic voice intonation. If you want everyone to think that you’re not sick, it’s important that your energy level appears normal. An easy way to trick people into thinking you’re okay is to maintain a healthy level of energy. Try to say everything with enthusiasm, and stay away from mumbling.[2]
    • Be aware of the tone and pitch of your voice. Having a sore throat might complicate this, but avoid sounding monotone.
  2. Image titled Heal Your Life Step 13
    Make excuses if people ask you if something’s wrong. If someone realizes that there’s something wrong with you, it’s important to change the direction of their inquiries. You can blame it on the bad weather, car issues, something at work, or something personal.
    • If someone asks you if there’s anything wrong, you can reply by saying “Not really, I just had a hard time starting the car this morning and it’s really throwing me off.”
    • Don’t make an excuse that’s worse than actually being sick. Think of something innocuous and believable.
  3. Image titled Feel Good About Yourself Step 22
    Reduce your physical activity to a minimum. Don’t put in physical effort if you don’t have to. While it may aid in making it seem like you’re healthy, being sick can take a physical toll, and it will wear down your endurance and make you feel worse over time.[3] Opt out of physical activity if it’s an option.
    • If someone asks you to help move something, you can tell them that you hurt your back, or you have a bad knee.
    • If you are sweating and look exhausted after doing something, it will be a dead giveaway that you’re sick.
    • Take a break if you’re feeling fatigued and excuse yourself to the bathroom.
  4. Image titled Achieve Short Term Goals Step 6
    Maintain a positive attitude and smile. Even if you’re not normally a positive person, maintaining a smile and acting positive will trick people into thinking you’re not sick.
    • Smiling also may make you feel better throughout the day.[4]
    • The more positive you are, the better the interactions with other people will be.[5]

Method 2
Reducing Your Symptoms

  1. Image titled Get Rid of Cramps Step 1
    Buy an Aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen for headaches. When a headache is visibly bothering you it is a dead giveaway that you’re sick. Avoid this by purchasing over-the-counter medicine that will reduce your headache if you have one.
    • Some Aspirin or acetaminophen contain caffeine or or a sedative that may be more effective than typical aspirin.[6]
    • Some popular brands of aspirin and ibuprofen include Advil, Motrin, and Aleve.
  2. Image titled Treat Upper Back Pain Step 2
    Take over-the-counter cough medicine to reduce cold symptoms. You can buy over-the-counter cough syrup or cough medicine at most pharmacies. These medicines reduce common cold symptoms like a runny nose, congestion, or a buildup of phlegm or mucus. To help the process, make sure to drink a glass of water after taking the medicine.[7]
    • Many over-the-counter drugs reduce multiple symptoms. Evaluate all your symptoms and choose the medicine that best fits them.
    • Antihistamines reduce the effects of hay fever and can reduce other symptoms of a cold, like a runny nose and sneezing.[8]
  3. Image titled Make Yourself Feel Better (When You're Sick) Step 6
    Take Emetrol if you have stomach pain. Emetrol is a drug that’s used to prevent nausea from a viral or bacterial infection.[9] Take this if you think you may need to vomit during the day.
    • If you have diabetes you should not take Emetrol as it contains sugar.
    • Do not take more than five doses of Emetrol in one hour.
  4. Image titled Get Rid of a Cough Fast Step 18
    Take cough drops throughout the day for a persistent cough. Cough drops can reduce a sore throat and prevent you from coughing.[10] To avoid giving away your sickness, take these regularly throughout the day as directed on their package.
    • Hard candy can also serve as an alternative.
  5. Image titled Stop a Cold when You Feel It Coming On Step 11
    Use a nasal spray for a stuffy nose. Saline sprays can clear up nasal congestion.[11] Always blow your nose before using them. To use them effectively, tip your head back and spray the solution into each nostril.[12]
    • When you're congested, it’s obvious because it can alter your voice.
    • Make sure to use as directed on the package. You will probably have to spray more than once throughout the day.
  6. Image titled Increase Platelets Step 11
    Use alternative treatments like Vitamin C and Echinacea. Taking Vitamin C before the onset of a cold may reduce the duration of your sickness.[13] If you work in a germ heavy environment, it’s probably a good idea to take cautionary measures. Echinacea also has a similar effect and has been shown to reduce the duration of cold symptoms and boost the immune system. [14]
    • Taking Echinacea before the onset of a cold can reduce your chances of getting sick up to 58%.[15]

Method 3
Hiding Your Sickness

  1. Image titled Enjoy Each Day Step 12
    Drink some caffeine to stay high energy. When you get sick, it can often affect your energy level and mood. A way to counteract feeling sluggish is to drink some caffeine throughout the day.[16]
    • Too much caffeine can make you anxious.[17] Do everything in moderation.
    • If you don’t like typical caffeinated beverages then wheatgrass juice or green tea can act as alternatives.[18]
  2. Image titled Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses Step 24
    Excuse yourself to the bathroom if you’re feeling really ill. If you feel like you may vomit or are having a hard time holding it together, it’s probably a good idea to excuse yourself. Take a break from whatever you need to do for 5-10 minutes and then return once you feel better.
    • Consider splashing cold water on your face if you’re feeling sweaty or hot.
  3. Image titled Get Rid of Morning Breath Step 2
    Brush your teeth and use breath mints or gum to hide bad breathe. If you had to vomit, this may cause you to have bad breath throughout the day. Make sure to brush your teeth and tongue thoroughly when you wake up and continue to use breath mints or gum throughout the day.
    • It may be a good idea to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste if you need to vomit when you’re not home.
    • Bacterial sinusitis can also cause bad breathe when you’re sick.[19]
  4. Image titled Hide Pimples Step 11
    Use makeup to remove visible signs of sickness. You can use concealer if there are dark circles under your eyes from being sick to avoid looking visibly ill. Use makeup to cover up things like cold sores or lesions that you may have as well.
    • Make sure to buy makeup that matches your skin tone.
  5. Image titled Get Energy Fast Step 11
    Don’t let people see you blow your nose or take medicine. It makes it obvious that you’re sick if you have to constantly blow your nose, or people around you see you taking cold medicine. Make sure to excuse yourself to the bathroom, or do it discreetly when you’re alone.
    • You can blame sneezing or a runny nose on allergies or dust.
    • Dispose of used tissues in the trash so you don’t spread germs.
    • Make sure to carry a water bottle around so you can swallow your medicine.


  • Always consult a physician or pharmacist before taking any medication.
  • If you are prescribed to prescription drugs, ask your doctor about possible negative interactions between the medicines.
  • If you are very sick and running a fever, consult a physician and stay home.
  • Sometimes being sick may make situations worse instead of improving them.

Article Info

Categories: Feigning Illness