Fresher’s Flu is an illness that you normally contract early on when starting university. It is something that is feared by all Freshers. Before I joined university, I hoped it was a myth. But sadly, it is very real.
There are many symptoms of Fresher’s Flu. These can include shivering, fever, dry cough, sneezing, headache, and fatigue. Not ideal really, especially when you have a flooded lecture timetable and socialising to do in the early stages of the year. So, let’s work out how to combat it.
What causes Fresher’s Flu?
It’s a combination of things. For one, you will have met many new people from all around the country, and even all around the world (shout out to international students!), so you will encounter many people who may be carrying infections that you are not immune to. However, Fresher’s Flu can also be caused by a lack of sleep, eating junk food, and drinking alcohol. Therefore, maybe try to hold off getting a Jimmy’s or McDonald’s every night to soak up all the booze consumed at labs or the SU. Instead, maybe try to take a night off every now and again.
Stress can also cause Fresher’s Flu, as moving into university is a stressful time for everyone, and it is completely normal to worry about moving away from home, starting a new course, making new friends, or anything else you may be worried about. But it’s always good to talk to people about this, whether it be friends, family, your personal tutor, or nightline.
If you are lucky enough to have avoided Fresher’s Flu so far, there are a few ways to try and prevent catching it. Firstly, make sure you are getting enough vitamins. You can get these in the form of multivitamins. The key vitamins that you will need are vitamins D, C and E. Not consuming enough vitamin D can weaken the immune system, so you could get more of this from egg yolks and mushrooms. Vitamin C also boosts your immune system, and you can get this from broccoli. Vitamin E helps the body fight infection and helps maintain healthy skin and eyes and it is found in plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables so make sure you’ve got some of those in your diet. Also, ensure you stay hydrated (no, alcohol doesn’t count!) and get plenty of rest (between 7 and 9 hours is recommended). You can also use hand sanitiser to try to prevent yourself catching Fresher’s Flu – hopefully now COVID is less prevalent you won’t have to find it on the Black Market, so that’s always a win.
If you have already got Fresher’s Flu, then do not fear, you can ease the symptoms. Eating healthily will help so try to eat lots of fruit and vegetables as they are a good source of vitamin C so will help your body fight the infection. You should also be drinking lots of water and making sure you get enough sleep. Take paracetamol, as this is a painkiller so treats any pain that Fresher’s Fly may be causing you, but it can also reduce a high temperature. Use soothers to relieve a sore throat and get a nice flavour if that makes you feel any better. These soothers will help to lubricate the throat as sucking on them helps to produce saliva. Therefore, it will relieve irritation and stop the throat from feeling dry. You can also drink hot drinks to loosen phlegm in the throat, which will hopefully make you feel a little better.
Overall, though try not to worry about Fresher’s Flu too much. It may feel like you’re dying (okay that is slightly dramatic), but it will pass. Then you don’t have to worry about it again… until next year.
Wishing you good health!