Surviving Fresher Flu

Ah, freshers flu. I’m pretty sure if you’re a new student or not you’d have heard of this dreaded onslaught of illness that arrives every new university year.

As the name suggests this is a more cold-like illness (rather than flu) caught by Freshers. Me personally? I got it a week before my first year lectures started, not very helpful but I managed to hold it off in second year. As previously stated, it is named freshers flu because it is mostly caught and passed on by the new bunch of students that arrive at university and there are reasons for this.

  1. A lot of mingling with new people in contained environments – Lecture halls and such
  2. Lack of sleep – lots of partying to be done
  3. Eating junk food – no time to cook, there’s that themed night in the SU we have to go to, let’s just order a Dominos
  4. Alcohol – need I say more?

“Stress, which may be induced by tiredness, combined with a poor diet, late nights and too much alcohol, can weaken the immune system and be a recipe for ill health. All this can make students more susceptible to infections within their first weeks of term.”

Dr Peter Mace, Clinical Director: BUPA Wellness

There are also psychological factors involved in freshers flu, as stated in the quote above, stress can significantly weaken the immune system and the stress from leaving home, suddenly being independent and having to make new friends can be a part of that.

Your symptoms for Freshers Flu are pretty much the same as a common cold but just in case you need a refresher:

  1. Sore throat
  2. High temperature
  3. Headaches
  4. Cough
  5. General grogginess (feeling generally down and unwell)

Just because they don’t rush into a hospital bed doesn’t mean they don’t make you feel like the world is ending! So have some cures ready so that you don’t have to spend too long curled up in bed feeling sorry for yourself.

  1. Eat healthily – Your body will thank you for it. Maybe instead of take away food every night try cooking something healthy for yourself, you’re going to have to get round to it at some point.
  2. Stay Hydrated – One thing doctors always tell you with this kind of illness is make sure you drink plenty of fluids. Sadly this does not usually include alcohol or fizzy drinks. Plenty of water or maybe some fruit juice to keep you going. I hear orange juice is good, get that vitamin C.
  3. Get into bed – Just take some time to rest up. Everyone always wants to try and do every night of freshers week so they don’t miss out but sometimes taking one night out can really help your immune system.
  4. Register with the GP – This may not be needed for Freshers Flu but it’ll certainly jog your memory for next time you get ill and you’re not registered with a GP so don’t have a place to go when you need extra help getting better. You never know, so below are the details for the De Montfort Surgery on campus but more often than not, there will be staff from the surgery around during Freshers week to remind you to sign up.

Notice from their website: The surgery will be open Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st September between 10:30am – 4:00pm for Student Registrations ONLY. (However if you’re reading this after those dates they will obviously take registration at any time)

De Montfort Surgery
100 Mill Lane

Telephone:  0116 2227272

By Rachael Atkinson Millmoor

(Image from