You’re shivering, sneezing; have a fever, a dry cough, headaches and a general feeling of grogginess? Yep, you’ve most probably been warned about it, this is Freshers Flu- the dreaded side effect of the first few weeks of student life for many!
Despite its name, Freshers Flu isn’t technically a flu, it’s just a really bad cold that derives from a combination of psychological and physical factors you face in your Freshers’ fortnight. Obviously, moving out of your family home and into halls full of strangers is a stressful experience, and stress does not have a positive influence on your immune system. Next, you’re mingling with hundreds, sometimes thousands of new people at your freshers’ events- this involves lots of hugging and hand-shaking- a breeding ground for cross contamination of germs and viruses that perhaps you are not yet immune to. Once you’ve made all of your new friends, you can then head out for fourteen nights in a row to party with them. Your consequential lack of sleep wrecks havoc with your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses, and the copious amounts of cheesy chips after a night out (or even the morning after) is doing nothing to replenish your body with its much needed energy and vitamins. The amount of alcohol your body consumes within these two weeks is potentially dangerous, as binge drinking on this scale without a doubt affects your body’s defenses to viruses too.
Aside from hiding in your room 100% of the time, (not a wise idea if you want to make any friends) there are a few things to do which can protect you from contracting the infamous Fresher’s Flu.
- Use lots of anti-Bacterial hand gel throughout the day, this will ensure that your hands stay clear of the germs that cause viruses and colds.
- Drink lots of water and remember to keep hydrated, especially if you have been out the night before as alcohol dehydrates the body. It is often a wise idea to leave a pint of water on your bedside table for when you get in, and forcing yourself to drink it at 4am will make you feel a whole lot better in the morning.
- If for whatever reason you forget to consume your pint of water at 4am, help is on its way in the form of two life-saving products, Berrocca and Dioralyte. Dioralyte is technically a product to give to children after a bought of diarrhea but is an incredible hangover cure as it is an intensive rehydration method which prevents the horrible dehydrated feeling the next day. Having a Berrocca with your breakfast boosts your vitamin levels and gives your body some much-needed energy.
- Consume some Vitamin C. Avoid the junk food as much as you can (as tempting as it is with a mighty hangover) and try to force yourself to eat lots of fruit and veg instead. This will give your body a fighting chance against all the new viruses it will be coming up against. If this doesn’t sound up your street, then get some vitamin C tablets and pop one a day over freshers’.
- The beauty of having no lectures for a week means that you have the luxury of lots of sleep. Get those zzzz’s in and give your body a rest.
Hopefully these tips and tricks should keep the dreaded Freshers’ Flu at bay enough for you to enjoy your Freshers’ Fortnight to the fullest. Freshers’ is one of the most liberating, enjoyable and fun-filled periods of your time at university so make sure you’re well enough to get out there and seize it. And for those of you who are stuck down by Freshers’ Flu, don’t be afraid to take it easy for a few days, and get well soon!