Freshers’ Week is meant to be an introduction to the university for newcomers or a welcome return for existing students.
The main event is, of course, lots of drinking and partying.
It has been said that this causes what is known as Freshers’ Flu, a condition that causes illness to students who take part in Freshers’ Week.
Is Freshers’ Flu real?
The answer to this question may surprise you. In real terms, an illness that students at Freshers’ Week do contract is a thing. This is now known as Freshers’ Flu.
What causes Freshers’ Flu?
Freshers’ Flu is caused primarily by the fact that students come from all around, different villages, towns, cities, even countries.
This means that germs from all those places come into contact with each other. People from those places will have built up immunity to those pathogens that originate in their home place but others will not have, causing symptoms that may or may not be flu.
Think of the common cold, a virus which mutates ever so slightly all of the time which is why there is no cure.
As the body will build up immunity to an old strain that was around but the new strain will produce the symptoms associated with a cold.
With Freshers’ Flu, there will be lots of different strains of the common cold, as well as other conditions that mutate often. These all being in the same place at the same time will mean that the chances of infection are high.
What is a pathogen?
A pathogen is basically a microorganism, such as bacteria or a virus, that can cause infection or disease. Pathogens are the cause of many illnesses, such as a cold or flu.
What are the symptoms of Freshers’ Flu?
The symptoms of Freshers’ Flu are the same that you would find for a common cold or flu. These include:
- A sore throat
- Blocked or a runny nose
- Muscles aches
- Reduced or gone taste or smell
- A higher temperature/fever
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling sick
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Stomach pains
- Dry, chesty cough
With an overlap between cold and flu symptoms, you will often find that there are treatments that help to relieve both a cold and flu.
What are the treatments for Freshers’ Flu?
The treatments for any of the symptoms of Freshers’ Flu that could show will be a range of treatments, from cold and flu treatments, to sore throat treatments, to painkillers.
Cold and Flu treatments
Cold and flu treatments include tablets, capsules, liquids, sachets, and medicines that will help to relieve the symptoms of a cold, flu, but more often than not, both.
Many of these treatments contain painkillers such as paracetamol and caffeine. Caffeine helps to reduce fatigue.
A cough is one of the most common symptoms of a cold or flu. There is a wide range of treatments available for the different types of a cough that there are.
Medicine syrups are commonly found to help provide relief for a cough.
Ways to relieve a sore throat include cold and flu treatments but also specific products specifically for a sore throat. These include pastilles or lozenges that help to increase saliva production.
Saliva acts as a lubricant for the throat which in turn helps to clear a sore throat.
Loss of smell
A loss of smell is often caused by a blocked nose as a result of a cold or flu.
For a loss of smell, there are what are called decongestants.
Decongestants include things such as nasal sprays and even tablets that help to open up the nasal passages.
For those who are sick, you should drink lots of water and try and get plenty of fresh air.
You also eat less but more often.
It is often the case that being nauseous is caused by another condition, such as flu.
Lack of sleep
Normally, this is no problem for students but when suffering from cold and flu-like symptoms, a lack of sleep can quickly become a nuisance.
Treatments for lack of sleep can be the same for travel sickness or specific sleeping tablets.
This is because they often use the same active ingredients, for example, promethazine.
In the unlikely case that you get diarrhoea, there are treatments that can help reduce its effects and provide relief.
The treatments for diarrhoea help to slow down bowel movements and improving water absorption.
How long do Fresher’s Flu symptoms last?
Flu and cold symptoms typically last between 3-4 days. Sometimes, they can last for up to a week or two.
How can Freshers’ Flu be avoided?
Aside from somehow going to every place people are from at a university, which is thousands of people from many different places, and building up immunity from all of the different germs and bacteria at those places, the only way that Freshers’ Flu can be avoided is don’t take part in Freshers’ Week.
If you do take part and don’t end up with an illness, then that is simply luck of the draw. Not everyone will become ill at the beginning of a new university term.
Freshers’ Flu is not a condition on its own but it is a melting pot of potential conditions that could affect anyone who is involved in Freshers’ Week.