The All-Too-Necessary Guide for…Surviving University Cold and Flu

It has happened to us all; whether it’s the bog-standard Freshers’ Flu, or a more general snotty-bunged-up-ness that passes from bedroom to bedroom, door handle to door handle, and lecture theatre to lecture theatre – we’ve all been there. And isn’t it just so much worse being unwell at University? How do you look after yourself while snowed in by a pile of tissues?

Top tip: stock up. Stock up on everything. Even when you’re in the earlier stages of being unwell, get in there early before your health plummets (c. two days). Or, if you are extremely organised, have a mini survival kit of cold and flu remedies stocked up somewhere obvious – so you don’t forget it’s there. The essential items of the kit could include anything from boxes (and boxes and boxes) of tissues, vitamin tablets, ibuprofen and paracetamol, to a hot water bottle and a cozy pair of pyjamas, to a family-sized bar of Dairy Milk chocolate. Another tip I would advise is stocking up big time on quick and easy food to just throw in the oven: frozen pizza, microwave meals, tins of baked beans and soup – stuff that doesn’t require too much attention or effort.

‘Being able to survive the flu at university (without mum) is one of those life skills’

Real talk now, the thing that is blatantly missing at university when you get swept down with the plague, is in fact your mum. She always knows exactly what to do. While FaceTiming her with a puffy face from crying and snotting is one solution, being able to survive the flu at university (without mum) is one of those life skills we should all try to experience at some point. So, instead, I am calling upon the next best thing, which has to be a housemate. Not just any housemate, but the golden type of housemate who will risk their own health and venture into your pit, draw back the curtains for some sunlight, prop open the window, and ask the all too important question: “What can I get you?”, with a look of the deepest sympathy. And in a state of complete overwhelming emotion, this act of kindness has the ability to throw you over the edge (of your bed), whilst hysterically crying.

‘Seriously do not advise searching signs and symptoms on Google’

Moving swiftly on… it’s worth realising the use of your friends when you are unwell (provided that they are not unwell too). And although it can feel a bit bad doing so, I am almost certain there will come a time at university where you will return the favour. Also, it should only last a week or so, (if any longer then I would seriously advise seeing a doctor – and seriously not advise searching signs and symptoms on Google). After that period of your life has passed, and you can safely leave the house again, of course feel free to say “thank you” with a card, or flowers, or a vodka shot (whichever will mean most to them).

I am no doctor and won’t bother claiming I believe that an apple a day will keep them away. I am also aware what I am about to claim is the best “cure” for cold and flu has been passed down from my mum (to which I probably replied “go away”). But, some fresh air can definitely help you feel less rubbish – so if sticking your head out the front door is all you can manage, that’s at least something.

Ellie Wright

Featured image courtesy of Graham Richardson via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to this image. 

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