A Fever you CAN Sweat Out: Everything you need to know about Fresher’s Flu
Shh, listen. What’s that sound? It’s the sound of fresher’s flu! Sit back, relax and enjoy the soothing sounds of thousands of students coughing, sneezing and blowing their noses all over campus. It is sadly that time of year again where, no matter hard you try, you will probably get ill at some point during the start of term. Fresher’s flu is an integral part of the uni experience, much like drinking, locking yourself out at least once and spending too much money on takeaways. While fresher’s flu is unpleasant, there are things you can do in an attempt to postpone the inevitable and ease your symptoms.
Fresher’s flu spreads quickly mostly due to the fact that a bunch of people are suddenly lumped together in a limited space while living together or attending lectures so your constant close proximity to others means that if a few people are sick, it will likely spread quickly to surrounding people. Sadly, this means that clubbing and going out is the perfect way to catch a healthy dose of fresher’s flu due to the combination of a warm, humid environment and close contact with sweaty strangers. If you desperately want to avoid getting ill, I’d recommend avoiding clubbing at all costs, however this idea may horrify some students. If you’re one of those people who live for the sesh and isn’t afraid of a little illness then getting enough sleep, eating well and drinking plenty of water after a night out may help to protect you from fresher’s flu for a while.
Your best defence against fresher’s flu is having a strong immune system and good hygiene. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you’re looking after yourself and washing your hands often. Some people will say that drinking orange juice for vitamin C helps to prevent you from getting ill, however this is not necessarily a scientifically proven method to avoid getting sick. Regardless of if it actually works or not though, vitamin C and orange juice are still good for your general health so feel free to continue to enjoy your orange juice (note: mixing your orange juice with excessive amounts of vodka may negate any health benefits).
If/when you do get ill, taking medications like paracetamol or ibuprofen can help to ease your symptoms. If you have more of a sinus cold, decongestants like Sudafed may be more useful to you. Make sure to read all warning labels before taking any new medications to ensure that they don’t interact with anything else you’re also taking. Having a hot shower, resting, drinking hot drinks and warm foods can also help you to feel better and more comfortable. If you are really ill, then don’t be afraid to take a day off or stay at home since you don’t want to spread any serious illnesses to those around you. However, it’s also important to not use a slightly runny nose as an excuse to skip lectures for a week!
Another thing to bear in mind is that, although it’s called “fresher’s flu” it’s usually just a bad cold. Therefore, antibiotics won’t help you to feel better. If you are entitled to free flu jabs then I strongly urge you to go and get vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent your fresher’s flu from turning into something worse. If your symptoms don’t start to improve at all after a week then I’d recommend you take a trip to the doctors or your local pharmacy just to check that you actually have fresher’s flu, rather than a different illness that requires different treatment.
I hope you’re all enjoying term 1 of university and that you recover soon if you’re ill!