During the first few weeks of a new term at university it is quite common for many Freshers to come down with a flu like illness, which has come to be known as Freshers flu.
When you live in a particular environment you will build up immunity to germs that you are regularly exposed to, but suddenly you are being thrown together with people from all over the world, with different germs. Added to that, the first few weeks of term students typically don’t eat well, hardly sleep and often drink too much, and spend lots of time in crowded parties –a recipe for falling ill. Oh and of course, for many, the stress of moving away from home for the first time can also help to lower your immunity.
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What are the symptoms of Freshers flu?
Freshers flu can leave you feeling pretty bad and you will most likely need to take to your bed. Typical symptoms include:
• Fever – make sure you drink plenty of liquids (and no that doesn’t include alcohol!)to replace the fluids you lose when you have a fever.
• Shivering – usually you will alternate between feeling hot and cold so just keep yourself wrapped up warm in the duvet when you feel cold and cool yourself down with wet towels when you are hot.
• Sneezing and coughing – just like any cold
• Feeling pretty rubbish – you will most likely find that you don’t feel like doing anything and you may have to ask your new flatmates to help you with a bit of shopping, get in the paracetamol or even some cooking to get you back on your feet – that’s assuming they’re not all ill too!
What can you do to avoid getting Freshers flu?
To be honest, if you avoid Freshers Flu you’ve done really well. Apparently around 90% of students will get it to some extent, but there are things you can do to reduce your chances of getting it or perhaps lessen the severity of the symptoms.
• Eat well – exactly what your Mum would tell you - eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg so that you get your daily dose of vitamins. Vitamin C in particular will boost your immune system and help to fight off any nasty germs.
• Take a vitamin supplement – just in case you think are not getting all the vitamins you need, take a vitamin supplement to give your immune system a boost.
• Get some sleep – even if you just can’t resist trying everything on offer during Freshers week, try to be selective and allow some time to catch up on your sleep. Sleep is a great healer.
• Hand hygiene – get yourself some of that antibiotic hand wash and try to remember to use it and avoid picking up everyone else’s germs