How to cope when fresher's flu hits

How to cope when fresher’s flu hits

It’s November. University has been going well, you’ve got loads of plans for the weekend, drafting that essay, having a catch up at the SU bar when all of a sudden you get that tell-tale sniff. Then you sneeze, then your throat is a little sore. Oh dear, you’ve got a cold! We’ve all been there, thinking that we have escaped the dreaded fresher’s flu when all of a sudden, it rears its ugly head.

When this happens, its normally worse than original freshers’ flu that hits late September or early October because you’re not expecting it. Plans are made on the regular, and it feels like missing just one event could make you a social pariah. This is not the case, but I know it feels like the end of the world.

Another issue with this is, in middle of November, deadlines suddenly become considerably more real and there’s suddenly days that you just can’t justify to have as a day off. But as we all know, the more we push ourselves, the more ill we become. Freshers flu isn’t actually the flu but it has become the name of the awful cold majority of students get at the beginning of the year.

How to cope when fresher's flu hits

How have you caught fresher’s flu?

By November you assume that you’ve mixed with enough new people to stave off any new illnesses. And you’ve toughened up your immune system with some good old baked beans on toast and pizzas. However, there will always be new people to meet and therefore new illness.

Also, particularly difficult to accept is the fact that all that partying and constant club nights may not have left you in the best health. Staying up late and eating rubbish, even though it can be fun, does not help your body at all. For that you need early nights and lots of fruit and veg! Not really the university lifestyle you envisioned right?

However, in order to carry on the way you are (which by the way you won’t be able to do all through university), you need to feel better, so here are some of my favourite remedies!

Eat healthily (at least for a bit)

When my lecturer saw me the other day, he told me to go home and have some fruit as it has vitamin C in it. We all assume we get a lot of sunlight regularly anyway, however, with this time of year, the change in the weather can result in us losing some vitamins and we need to replenish them to stay well.

How to cope when fresher's flu hits

Drink lots of water

You may think you can survive on vodka cranberry every night, and then a quick glass of orange juice in the morning but trust me, you need water! If you struggle to remember to drink water, a flask will help because you can mark it by the hour. Also, if you struggle to like the taste of water, perhaps buy some squash or some cordial to make it taste better. A little tip I used to do in between drinks was to have some water, it helps you stay hydrated which stops that horrible hungover feeling the next day.

Take paracetamol

This isn’t necessarily a cure, but it will help make the symptoms more bearable such as reducing a headache pain or making your stomach feel more settled. However, if you don’t want this, there is always a berocca, these will help supplement your vitamins but they also help you feel better.

How to cope when fresher's flu hits

Take care of yourself

This encompasses a range of things such as going to bed at a reasonable hour. The amount of sleep you get is essential. Even if you go to bed at 2 and sleep for 8 hours, it is not the same as going to bed at 11 and waking up at 7. It is far more productive to be up early. Also this particular note means having a good standard of hygiene, keeping your teeth clean and showering regularly. This will not just make you feel better, it will also ensure that you keep other illnesses away by staying clean. Whilst university is the time to try new things, do not take up smoking, it is an expensive habit that does you no good and guaranteed those people who smoke when they’re 18 will be regretting it and wishing they could give it up at 22. Don’t start.

Maintain your mental health

This will help you in the long run too. Ensuring you socialise with people who are good for your mind as well as for your social life will help to ensure that you maintain a good positive mindset. Also, university can be stressful so even if you have only just got freshers flu, it doesn’t mean that you have been unhealthy, maybe just a little run down.

How to cope when fresher's flu hits

University is ultimately about studying, but also you want to have fun. However, fresher’s flu can really alter your perspective on university, and it is difficult to catch up once you’ve been ill. The best way to enjoy university is to do what you want. But remain healthy and remain surrounded by positive influences. If fresher’s flu has hit you and you’re really struggling mid-November, my best advice for you is to talk to your tutor about any deadlines that may fluctuate and take plenty of rest, you’ll feel better in the long run!

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How to cope when fresher's flu hits

Helen Rodgers

Lifestyle / Employment Writer. Helen studies Ancient History at the University of Nottingham and writes a weekly article on balancing student and working life.

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