If you’re reading this and you’re about to start uni, take note: you will have freshers’ flu by the end of the month. Freshers’ Week always starts off so positively, loads of nights out with your new best friends, drinking games and takeaways, and then it all goes wrong.
By day four or five of freshers, you’re likely to be huddled under a duvet, head throbbing and feeling thoroughly down: just some of the symptoms of the dreaded flu. Although it’s not too serious an illness, it’s likely to prevent you doing all the socialising and going to all the wacky new societies you had in mind, so it can be a total pain. But all is not lost – this guide is your best bet for keeping the lurgy at bay, so read on!
What is freshers’ flu?
According to the experts at Brownlow Health.co.uk, much like the so-called ‘man-flu’ which terrorizes boyfriends and fathers, there isn’t an actual condition called ‘freshers’ flu.’ The disease which torments so many students in the UK is actually a bad case of the common cold.
The combination of homesickness, booze, staying up late, and sharing confined spaces such as clubs, halls and lecture theatres with hundreds of new people is the cocktail of factors which attacks your immune system and make you feel grim. Your body is exposed to coughs and colds from all around the world, and simply can’t hack it.
In an interesting twist, researching ‘freshers’ flu’, it seems to be a UK phenomenon, rather than a worldwide illness: take that as you will. Does it mean we’re a nation of wimps?
Although symptoms vary between people, some of the most common ones include:
1. Coughing and sneezing – Whether phlegmy or dry, this is bound to irritate everyone else in the lecture hall, until they get it from you!
2. Fever and shivering – you body is hot and cold all at once and can’t make its mind up.
3. Headache – Is that a herd of elephants on my forehead or just another symptom of freshers’ lurgy?
4. Grogginess and tiredness – Your bed will be your best friend for the whole week…
How delightful. The symptoms are basically the same as a common cold and may well leave you feeling rough and down for a week or so, but soldier on. It will be over soon enough, and there are loads of things you can do in order to minimise your suffering.
Beating the flu
As you’ve most likely caught a virus, freshers’ flu cannot be treated with antibiotics from your GP (which would do more harm than good), but as they say, prevention is better than cure and you can reduce your risk of getting ill by doing the following things:
1) Drinking lots of water (especially between drinks)
2) Eating decent food (not just Dominos)
3) Doing some exercise and going outside
4) Not drinking excessively (do your best…)
5) Getting lots of sleep where possible: this will make a massive difference to your immune system.
6) Not touching people or things: you get ill from contact with people and things they’ve touched, so you could use lots of antibacterial hand gel to keep healthy.
If it’s too late for these tips and you’re already suffering, try to eat healthily, sleep lots, drink lots of water and take painkillers for headaches. You can also try Berocca, a vitamin supplement if you want a quick fix.
I hope you feel better soon, and don’t worry! You’ll be better in no time and can go back to the rest of first year madness.
By Georgia Tindale