Woman blowing her nose.

Battling Fresher’s Flu

The start of a new term will bring inevitable warnings about keeping good health and trying to persevere through a classic case of ‘Freshers Flu’. Cautions about alcohol consumption and stocking up on vitamin C will come thick and fast for new students especially, so here are a few tips to prevent and cope with student sickness.

Tip One: Hydrate yourself!

First and foremost, just make sure your body stays hydrated enough to take you through the day, especially if there’s been a heavy night of socialising and enjoying yourself. Studies have suggested that drinking water boosts an immune response specifically to better enable the body to defend itself from viruses, so try and drink a few glasses of water a day.

Tip Two: Garlic is a miracle

Garlic is my go-to for both preventing and dealing with flu symptoms for its many beneficial properties. Firstly, it can help boost the T-cells in your bloodstream, which helps to fight viruses, but, also, the compound in garlic, Allicin, is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant – making it the perfect remedy for the common cold. I swear by chopping up a clove and putting it in freshly boiled water to make an immune boosting tea!

Tip Three: Spice up your life with cayenne pepper

Most people are probably aware that eating spicy food is a good call when your body has surrendered to a bout of the flu, but cayenne pepper specifically has many health benefits to help rid you of the symptoms. It has anti-irritant properties which help to ease sore throats and nasty coughs while also aiding in breaking up and moving congested mucus (the bane of any cold). It also helps to lessen the pain of headaches by stimulating a pain response in a different part of the body to distract the brain.

Additionally, cayenne pepper is known as a circulatory stimulant which heats up the body from within and helps the detoxification process which is key in fighting the Fresher’s Flu battle.

Personally, I love to create a tea with all the best flu fighting ingredients:

  • One garlic clove finely chopped or 1tsp ground garlic
  • 4-6 thin slices of ginger or 1tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

All of this simply needs to be placed into a mug with hot water and left to steep for a couple of minutes. Yes, I know it sounds revolting but it just tastes like a slightly spicy tea and surely all the health benefits filled in that one cup are worth something that may taste slightly less than glorious.

Finally, while these are good tips to prevent and cope with Fresher’s Flu, some big things to consider are that alcohol does reduce your immune system’s efficiency and ability to fend off germs and viruses, so, even though it’s Fresher’s Week, it’s a good idea to monitor your intake. Also, just allowing your body to rest and getting enough sleep will help with how your body deals with all the germs it encounters.

If you want to find more tips and advice on health and wellbeing or details of the University’s health services, please visit the Student Services Health and Wellbeing Centre website.

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