The Most Common Student Illnesses and How to Avoid Them


You’re really looking forward to starting university, you’ll be in a new place with new people. With all the excitement, getting ill isn’t often something you think about, but unfortunately universities are the perfect breeding ground for all kinds of germs. Especially during freshers week. 

So if you don’t want to spend your freshers in bed with the flu, it’s a wise idea to keep yourself clued up on which illnesses and diseases to look out for, so you can try your best to avoid them and stay in top condition.

Freshers Flu

Now, THIS, is every student’s worst nightmare.

Freshers flu can be the bane of many students university experience; it spreads like wildfire and doesn’t just target freshers like the name might suggest. Mr. Freshers Flu over here does not discriminate. If you catch this, you’ll be the unpopular flatmate for about two weeks as you infect your new-found friends with your germs.

Lack of sleep, a terrible diet and stress will make you more vulnerable to this, so for your sake try to keep relaxed, eat well (pot noodles are not part of your five a day) and get some rest, even though you’ll be pretty busy.

If you do get Freshers flu, don’t fret, drink lots of water, stock up on cold-related medicine, preferably those with paracetamol in and take it easy. Lots of new seasons of shows on Netflix are coming out in September, so don’t feel sorry for yourself, think of it as getting ahead of everyone else.

It’s not a great idea to frequent the clubs and pubs Southampton has to offer when you’ve got the dreaded Freshers flu. This isn’t just because you’ll give it to other people, but because it’ll make you a lot, lot worse, and that’ll stop you from going out for a few weeks after, and you don’t want that, do you? You’d hate to miss out on Jesters Mondays, Sobar Tuesdays, Oceana Wednesdays…


You’re probably a little shocked as this is the scariest illness on the list and there is a good reason for this. There are two different types of meningitis, viral and bacterial, the latter being the most serious.

It’s important to note that symptoms for this include a very severe headache, sudden dislike of bright lights, vomiting, stiff neck muscles and high temperature. Another tell-tale sign is a rash that appears to look like little pinpricks, which will not fade if you apply pressure to it. It is vital to go to the doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. However, lots of surgeries offer vaccinations against meningitis for those about to head off to uni, so if you haven’t already, enquire about this.


Finishing with one that’s uncomfortable to talk about – cystitis, a form of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Most women will experience cystitis at one point in their life and during university is one of the most common times to get it. It can be caused by a bacterial infection which is often facilitated by sex and/or using tampons.

If you do get cystitis it will pass in a few days, but cranberry juice extract is incredibly useful to lessen your symptoms and help show the infection the door. Pharmacies also sell a course of sachets you can mix with water to help get you fighting fit again.

So there you have it, 3 of the most common student illnesses and how you can fortify your body to ward off those germs that will inevitably be coming your way! Have a great freshers everyone…


Law student at the University of Southampton. Features Editor 2016/17. I also write for KettleMag, The Edge and The National Student. Avid reader, badminton player, dog lover and hedgehog rescuer.

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