13 ways to cure freshers' flu
So you're feeling a little rough. Actually, a lot rough. Actually, a million rough.
You're not alone. In fact, there's no escape: the BBC report that 90% of freshers' will get caught. And with coughs passing around lecture theatres like a respiratory Mexican wave, it's little surprise.
Freshers’ flu isn’t really like flu at all (well, maybe man flu) it's more of a bad cold; you’ll have a slight fever, a runny nose, a cough, a sore throat, a bad headache. Unfortunately, you don’t catch freshers’ flu, freshers’ flu catches you. So you can try to run - but after sharing the air with new flat-mates, new course-mates and hundreds of sweaty club-goers, it will catch you. A body will be immune to some of the germs encountered, but with a lifestyle of hard drinking, late nights and breakfast kebabs, nobody can expect to be on top form to fight the unfamiliar.
The simple cure is obvious: go to bed early, drink less. This much is known - your body has been shouting it for hours. But this is freshers' week...
If you're determined to soldier on, follow this tips. We're pretty much doctors*.
*We're definitely not doctors.
1. Eat healthily
But... but... quad-vods and cereal seemed like the perfect diet.
Fruit and veg are fairly obvious cures, though they're disappointingly expensive. Get the best deals by buying loose rather than packs (this can be up to half-price cheaper) and seeking out a green-grocers or a cheap fruit-n'-veg shop. Eat in season too, the food is fresher and it costs less.
- During September, in season fruit and veg include: apples, plums, pears, raspberries, pumpkin, figs and fennel.
- Just going out of season (still cheap): tomato, spring onion, cucumber, apricot.
2. Flat party > going out
When you're feeling like someone forced two corks up your nose and ran a nail file over your tonsils, when someone suggests going out, smiles are forced while your internal monologue screams...
Have a flat party instead. You won't get a reputation as a hermit, will still have a ridiculous night but you'll avoid the freezing walk home and you won't be in a box room of sweaty, germ ridden strangers. Besides, you'll avoid queues to get in, crazy drink prices and you may even get a little sleep. What's not to like?
3. Get plenty of sun
You may be thinking 'On this hangover? No chance' but head outdoors for plenty of fresh air and Vitamin D, courtesy of that firey-orb in the sky. Beats being cooped up in your own filth and is the perfect chance to explore an your city.
4. Water, water, water
Hydration is the key to life. Flush those germs out. Hot water with honey and lemon seems to cure just about everything, including broken legs**.
Use the leftover boiling water to inhale steam, which will can clear sinuses, relieve headaches and ease the symptoms of a cold. Pour the hot water into a large bowl, put your face to the steam and put a towel over the back of your head, trapping the steam. Breathe in deeply and reap the benefits. Plus, it’s free.
**see comment above about us not being doctors.
5. Wash your hands
Just do it, you germ-spreading pig.
6. Try not to be a whore
Just ask yourself: are they really worth the runny nose? Kissing doesn’t always spread a cold but if the person has a sore throat, then germs can be passed. And guess what? Freshers’ flu gives you a sore throat.
7. Clean your room
Hideously dull but fairly essential. If your room is crawling with germs, chances are you’ll pick them up too. Have a hoover, open the windows, finally pick the chips up off the floor and get healthy. And no, that ketchup stain isn't the carpet pattern.
..and besides, when it's exam period, you're be jumping to clean your room instead of revision. Get ahead of the game.
Sure it's effort but taking regular exercise helps kick start the immune system –go for a jog, have a throw around in the park, do a few press-ups. You needn’t relive Chariots of Fire but at least break the lightest mist of sweat.
9. Sleep, glorious sleep
Sure, your attitude may be more along these lines...
...and no-one said anything about going to bed early. But catch up on the hours of sleep you thought you’d lost forever. It’ll help your immune system get back to strength and relieve your headache. If you’re feeling like everything is getting too much - go home, climb into bed and spend a week dead to the world.
10. Blow your nose - properly
I know, I know. You’ve been blowing your nose for years now and all by yourself. Wow. Good for you. Are you doing it right? How you blow your nose matters –no, seriously. If you don’t clear your nose properly it can turn into a sinus infection. Don’t blow too hard (you shouldn’t hear much noise) otherwise the phlegm moves into your ear passages, blocking them up and causing ear-ache. The way to blow you nose is:
i) Lightly press a finger over one nostril, closing it.
ii) Blow gently to clear the other. Dispose of tissue.
Let's forget I ever had to write this, ok? I mean, it thrilled me and all, but still.
11. Stop wasting your cash on multi-vitamins
The supermarket shelves are crammed with wonder-tablets which promise nothing short of redemption, but frankly they're a waste. Though they may offer a slight benefit, for the most part your body won’t retain a lot of what they offer. You’ll simply end up with very valuable urine (that is, if you can find a buyer. And if you can find a buyer, your first call should be to the police).
12. Instead, use the right drugs
I refer, of course, to paracetamol. It'll lower your temperature. In general, paracetamol and caffeine based cold-cures work best, where anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen work for sinus trouble but otherwise will only irritate your stomach.
Cough sweets work wonderfully but gargling is often more effective and costs less. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in some warm water (boil the kettle and add cold, never use the hot tap) and gargle four times a day. It doesn't taste great - see the GIF above - but it should soothe your throat and it costs next to nothing. A spoonful of honey is another cheap and easy way to help kill off infections.
...and remember, you can do this. No matter how bad you feel, you can still enjoy freshers' week. You get this chance once - take advantage of it.