How you can fight freshers’ flu

19 Sep 2019,
By Vanessa R., Student at University of Glasgow

In the second of our two-part series on freshers’ flu, University of Glasgow student Vanessa explains what you can do to tackle the illness if you’re unlucky enough to catch it.

For many, university brings new, exciting possibilities. New friends, an unfamiliar city to explore and a chance to really get stuck into what you’re passionate about.

This is normally the time to enjoy yourself in the best possible way; by going out to events, getting to know fresh faces and simply enjoying the first week of university without much responsibility towards it.

However, when I moved to attend a new university for my postgraduate studies, I was told to be careful not to catch freshers’ flu. I had never heard about it, and I’m also not usually a person who gets ill too quickly.

As you can guess, I caught it, immediately, and at least two times. Out of experience, I would like to share my tips and tricks on how to handle it, and, if possible, to avoid it altogether.

This time, it hit me hard

Most people I have met throughout my postgraduate studies were doomed with the freshers’ flu to some extent. When I first experienced the symptoms, I thought I was just tired due to the excitement and a somewhat busy schedule.

Although I got enough sleep and ate healthily, I was soon proven wrong. After feeling tired, I developed a blocked nose, a cough and an extremely heavy head, which made it hard to concentrate. Not the best thing when you have recently moved to a new place and you do not know your way around yet. Especially when it, as in my case, lasted for two weeks. This time, it hit me hard.

How to recover from freshers’ flu

  • Drink a lot, especially water and tea – provide the body with enough fluids to clean and heal itself.
  • Get enough sleep – during sleep the body works hard to heal, improve and restore energy. Aim for a minimum of eight hours.
  • Carry around tissues and nasal spray – a blocked nose can be annoying, especially during class, where it can also annoy others. Using and binning tissues will also help stop the spread of germs.
  • Take a night off – during the first few weeks of uni it can be tempting to fill every single night with social events, but don’t be afraid to say no so that you can rest. Your body will thank you for it.
  • Carry a scarf/hat – the wind and changing weather is not to be underestimated, even if it is just the beginning of Autumn. Wrap up warm to avoid the condition getting worse. Avoid alcohol – as hard as it may be during freshers’ week, your body will feel worse if you drink through flu.

I knew when to start taking action

The second time I caught freshers’ flu was at the end of October. Again, I was very unfortunate, as this is the time that the first assignments started. On the positive side, I knew when to start taking action - as soon as I felt a heavy head. So I bought cold and flu medication, took them regularly and avoided the worst, even though I still had a slightly blocked nose and sore throat.

If it had gotten a lot worse, this time I would have considered going to a member of staff on my course, as it could have influenced my concentration and the results of my assignments.

For more detailed advice on how you can identify or treat flu, check out the NHS website. If you’re concerned that you’re not getting better, or your symptoms are extreme, consult your local GP.

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By Vanessa R.
Student at University of Glasgow