When four week long Freshers’ Flu is lingering, here’s what to do

One month in, how are we still ill?!


Week four of uni is coming to an end, and I bet you all told yourselves that by now you'd have gone to all your lectures, be up-to-date with reading, and no longer be ill. Well, you were wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

If you’re anything like me, you read The Soton Tab’s article on how to avoid Freshers' Flu with hopeful naivety. Then your immune system promptly ignored every single one of those tips, and you’re currently lying in bed, surrounded by tissues and dying a slow and painful death.

As I’m writing this, I’ve just come out the other side of about a week’s worth of Freshers’ Flu, including four days of having absolutely no voice, so I feel your pain. I’m now in my third year at uni (seriously, it should be illegal for non-freshers to get Freshers’ Flu), but in my first year at Southampton I was ill for the entirety of first semester.

If your immune system is about as good as whoever was guarding the fence when the Trojan Horse was delivered, you’ve come to the right place. Luckily for you, over the years I’ve acquired expert, insider knowledge of how best to deal with Freshers’ Flu, so here goes.

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It's time to cry on the sofa, surrounded by seven thousand blankets

The basics

Hopefully you had the foresight to stock up on medicines before you actually get ill – or, more likely, your mum bought a load for you in your "big shop" at the start of term.

If you’re not ill right now and don’t have a good supply, get yourself to Boots right now. If you are ill and don’t have anything, I recommend targeting your Mum Friend (we all have one), who will almost certainly have every medicine under the sun and can help nurse you back to health.

Also, make sure you’re registered with a Southampton GP – there are two on campus, so you’ve got no excuses! If you’re feeling really rubbish, and have been for a good few days, there’s no shame at all in going to see them.

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When you have Freshers' Flu and have to leave the house for longer than 0.7 seconds

Get as warm as physically possible

If you’re in halls (especially you absolute ballers in Chamberlain and Mayflower), you most likely have magical, incredible, year-round unlimited heating. Turn it up high, and keep it there.

If you don’t have the luxury of this, you can always try crying about it to maintenance/your housemates. They will almost definitely say no to turning the heating on, but, you know, it’s worth a shot.

Your other option is to wrap yourself in as many scarves, jumpers, blankets and dressing gowns as is humanly possible. The goal is to look like a poodle-snowman hybrid. If you don’t weigh at least two stone extra by the time you’re done wrapping yourself up warm: trust me, you’re not done.

To lecture or not to lecture?

Especially if you are a fresher, I would definitely err on the side of not going to your lectures. I tried to soldier on in my first year, but just ended falling asleep in every single lecture.

If you’re really that ill, all you’ll do is sit in the lecture theatre crying until you can leave, you won’t be able to concentrate enough to actually learn anything, and you’ll probably just infect everyone within a five-mile radius.

A day or two of bed rest will make you feel loads better, and you honestly won’t miss anything that important. Hopefully.

Now that you’re not in lectures, you can get lots of sleep. Netflix and (actually) chill – finish a box set, and just allow yourself to wallow in being ill and lazy and a bit gross for a couple of days.

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Naps are the only option if you decide to go to lectures

Get those vitamins

At the risk of actually sounding like your mum, you do need to make sure that you’re eating your fruit and veg and getting all your vitamins. However, you also should eat whatever you fancy and what you think will make you feel better.

I personally recommend eating cold things to help soothe your throat, like ice cream and frozen fruit. Liquids are also great, as they won’t hurt your throat and are easier to eat when you don't really have an appetite. Stock up on soup, or you could be like my weird (Northern, obvs) housemate, and just drink gravy.

As well as eating properly, make sure you're drinking lots – and no, I don’t mean that you should go to Sobar and chug Quad Vods like they’re Lemsip. Get yourself a nice big bottle of water, and then guilt-trip your housemates into bringing you cups of tea – again, handy to target the Mum Friend.

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Everything you need to survive Freshers' Flu can be seen above: Netflix, tea, and shed-loads of medicine

Splash out on the luxuries

You’re ill, and haven't quite used up your student loan yet, so it’s time to treat yourself. If you have absolutely no food and really want a takeaway, get a takeaway! This is no time for self-control and budgeting, just allow yourself to buy whatever you think will make you feel better.

It sounds extra af, but one absolute lifesaver that I discovered in first year is nice tissues. Don’t be that cheapskate who uses the nasty, itchy toilet roll for blowing their nose, just because it’s communal and that way you can save roughly 27p. Splash out on those fancy tissues and not only will you feel like a proper grown-up, but your face doesn't get that weird round-the-nose rash (the gross one which make you feel ten times worse), and you will definitely thank yourself in the long-run for it.

So, now you know how to have Freshers’ Flu and come out the other side. Go forth and conquer it. I believe in you.