Fresher's flu
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Combat fresher’s flu with the help of science

Amongst all things Fresher’s, one of the concepts that I found most amusing when I started university (although shouldn’t have) was the so-called Fresher’s Flu. When students from all over the world begin their journey at university, before they even fully understand the challenges of managing their academic, personal, and social life away from home, their immune systems are put to the test. Every year, the Fresher’s Flu affects all new and returning students with colds and coughs that can sometimes even make listening in lectures difficult. Alongside preparing for your many other essential and optional activities at university, it would be useful to take some steps to avoid the infamous Fresher’s Flu. Here, I share some key advice which will hopefully allow you to both enjoy Fresher’s Week and look after your health.

Staying hydrated is important in all walks of university life. Drinking plenty of water can act as an immune system booster by carrying oxygen to your body cells. Water will also remove toxins from the body. If you feel particularly brave, take your glass of water to the next level by adding a slice of lemon. Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which can help prevent disease and fight the common cold. Hopefully, this has convinced you that the recommended six to eight glasses of water a day can help prevent the Fresher’s Flu. Moreover, researchers have found that drinking a pint of water before conducting mental tasks could improve reaction times by up to 14%. So, staying hydrated not only affects your physical health but can also impact positively on performance in lectures.

Staying hydrated is important in all walks of university life. Drinking plenty of water can act as an immune system booster by carrying oxygen to your body cells

For many of you, university may be the first time that you’ll have to cook entirely for yourselves. In order to keep your immune system at its best, it is important to remember that vitamins are vital. However appealing Super Noodles and microwave meals may seem, remember that it is important to make sure you have a balanced and healthy diet. Consider experimenting with different foods in the kitchen and including vegetables in your evening meal. Additionally, remember to consume sufficient milk and dairy products.  Lastly, any deficiencies can be kept in check by taking appropriate nutritional supplements

Going for a run is not only free but will work wonders for your physical and mental health. A walk in Tocil Woods will also get you out in the fresh air and is guaranteed to leave you feeling energised and calm. For a more sophisticated approach, you could perhaps consider Warwick’s new Sports and Wellness Hub. If group activities take your fancy, Warwick Sport offer over 70 sports clubs ranging from quidditch to salsa, so there should be something for everyone. Warwick campus is so big that even wandering back from lectures (in my case, from the Zeeman building to the Arts Centre) can feel like a hike so this at the very least will get your step count up.

However appealing Super Noodles and microwave meals may seem, remember that it is important to make sure you have a balanced and healthy diet

Remember to have some ‘easy’ days. The first few weeks, which are spent making new friends and finding your way around campus, can be a stressful period and this pressure can impact negatively on the body’s ability to fight any illness floating around. Although it may be easier said than done, make sure not to end up draining yourself or overdoing it. Instead, take some time for yourself and watch an episode or two of Doctor Who as an alternative to a night out. I found cooking with my flatmates to be a relaxing pastime and also treated myself to a visit to Curiositea in order to experience the Chai.

Although it may be easier said than done, make sure not to end up draining yourself or overdoing it. Instead, take some time for yourself and watch an episode or two of Doctor Who as an alternative to a night out

Antibacterial hand gel can also help you avoid catching the Fresher’s Flu. Now, I’m in no way suggesting you squirt hand gel onto your palm in front of every person after you shake hands with them. Applied discretely, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser can be a good means of removing any bacteria you may have picked up around halls or in the Copper Rooms. This simple act of self-care will allow you to avoid investing in countless packs of Kleenex later on. So, your choice.

It also helps to be prepared for the worst. In some cases, your best efforts to avoid the Fresher’s Flu may go unrewarded. If pathogens do win, a stockpile of Lemsips and pain killers will prove invaluable.

Applied discretely, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser can be a good means of removing any bacteria you may have picked up around halls or in the Copper Rooms

Oh, and welcome to Warwick.

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