Freshers week has started for many this year, with thousands of students moving their belongings into new rooms and going through the classic questions of “where are you from?” and “what course are you doing?”.
It’s a week that is extreme; you’re thrown in the deep end, especially if you’ve never spent a long time separated from home, parents and friends. Everyone is expected to party all night, every night and make friends for life, but some factors can get in the way. The first is homesickness, which everyone will experience at some point, and the second is the inevitable case of freshers flu.
I experienced it within two weeks of moving into my new halls, and chances are that freshers somewhere are going through it right now, but what is freshers flu? Well, this is the easiest explanation, it’s other peoples germs. At home, you’re used to your own germs and to those around you, you probably all share the same mix of bacteria on your bodies and belongings, so you’ll have adapted to them. But once you move to new surroundings with strange new people, then germs will mix and no doubt you’ll feel the affects of it all with the common symptoms of a runny nose, sore throat, pounding head (or is that the alcohol from the night before?) and that general want for a duvet and mum to nurse you back to health.
But have no fear, you can take steps to not necessarily avoid freshers flu, but to ease some symptoms and make sure that you travel on the road to recovery.
Remember all that alcohol that you may have consumed? Well due to alcohol being a diuretic, meaning a substance that makes you need to urinate more, you’re likely to have lost water and could end up dehydrated. Everyone needs water in order for our bodies to function as well as to transport out toxins that build up within us. Now go get a glass of water.
Another potential pitfall of freshers week is that you may not be in the mood to cook meals every night like the ones provided for you back home, which no doubt contain larger quantities of fruit and vegetables instead of just refined carbohydrates. Getting the vital vitamins and minerals is key to a healthy immune system and will aid you to recovery. It’s as easy as having a glass of orange juice or having some carrot sticks with lunch (and yes, you can get get them pre prepared).
Have some extra vitamins
If eating fruit’n’veg really isn’t your sort of thing, or you just want some extra nutrients, consider taking some multivitamins. I recommend the chewy sweet variety instead of a regular pill, as they’re easier to take and taste much better. If freshers flu does arise, make sure to take ones which contain vitamin C, as it has been found to boost immune strength.
Accept that freshers flu is inevitable. Then, stock up on tissues and any over the counter medications that you need such as cold and flu tablets and throat sprays.
Register with your local NHS
This tip is more for your general well being whilst you study away from home, but it is something you should set up within the first couple of weeks of arriving. For freshers flu, I wouldn’t recommend booking an appointment to see the nurse unless you feel seriously ill, as it’s likely that you have a simple viral infection, which takes time and rest to cure, not antibiotics.
Now, these steps will not defend you entirely from other peoples bacteria, they’ll simply help you survive a week that you’ll look back on as being one of the maddest you’ve ever experienced. After all, the whole point of freshers week is to get out there, so have a glass of water, some proper food and go say hi to your new flatmates!