Getting ill is a right pain, especially when there’s so much going on at uni. Whilst your housemates are out partying, you’re stuck in bed with only a hot drink and a whole lot of rubbish films for company; and you have to catch up on missed lectures from your mate’s feeble notes.
Staying healthy isn’t the most exciting part of living away from home, but looking after yourself will make sure you’re always ready for action to enjoy the good bits. Our student health guide will give you tips on how to stay well, and what to do if you aren’t feeling your best.
Sign up at the doctor’s
You feel fine now, but at some point in the next three years you’ll probably need to see a doctor. When you look and feel like something scraped off the Students’ Union dance floor, the last thing you’ll want is loads of hassle and waiting around – so get organised and sort it out now.
Most universities will have a medical centre on campus, where the doctors are used to dealing with students and their health problems. Alternatively, you can sign up at any local practice. Just pop in, fill in a quick form, and you’re done.
If you need to see a doctor quickly and aren’t registered anywhere nearby, you can get treatment at an NHS walk-in centre.
Sign up at the dentist
Same deal really. Believe us, if you wake up one day with a mega toothache you’ll want to see a dentist fast!
If you’re already registered at an NHS dentist they will try to fit you in that day, and you’ll pay minimal fees. Otherwise, you may have no choice but to go private, which could end up costing you hundreds (yes, hundreds!) in valuable beer money.
With a little bit of effort, you can often stop yourself getting sick in the first place. It’s common sense really, but this sort of thing will should do the trick:
Get enough sleep. Sleep is when your body rejuvenates and repairs itself, so if you aren’t getting enough you’ll quickly become run down and unable to fight off the bugs. Most people need about eight hours a night, and hours you catch before midnight are believed to be the most beneficial.
Eat properly. Living off takeaway and noodles will not end well – you’ll end up with bad skin, low energy and a weak immune system. Cooking your own food is healthier and cheaper, and gives you the chance to load every meal with fruit or veg.
Get some exercise. Exercise boosts your immune system, and makes you feel great. Students’ Union societies are a fun way to keep fit and meet people. From indoor climbing, to cheerleading, to martial arts, there’s bound to be something for you.
If organised fun isn’t your thing, you can get bargainous gym and pool memberships at the university sports centre. And if that sounds like too much hard work, just having a kick around in the park and walking or cycling to uni a couple of times of week will make a big difference too.
Keep warm. Yes, we sound like your mum and dad, but wear a coat when you go out! Purple goose-bumpy arms are not a good look, and you’ll thank us for it when you’re trapped at the taxi rank in the rain.
If you’re in Student Housing Company accommodation, your flat should always be nice and warm, but if you are feeling chilly don’t be afraid to use the booster button in your room. In other housing, make sure you have the heating is on in the winter – a low temperature over long periods is more efficient than quick blasts.
Despite your best efforts, you’re bound to feel under the weather occasionally. Dragging yourself to the shops in your pyjamas in seek of paracetamol isn’t fun, so make sure you have a survival stash at the ready. We recommend:
- Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. These will sort out headaches and high temperatures.
- Cold and flu remedy.
- Cough medicine.
- Basic first aid stuff, such as plasters and antiseptic cream.
Bacteria love a good time, and all that partying, kissing and sharing drinks is perfect for them. Annoyingly, even if you’re taking it easy you could still catch it off your housemates or on the uni bus.
Fresher’s flu is bad cold with a fancy name. Symptoms include a runny or blocked nose, a sore throat, headaches, aching limbs and a temperature. The NHS advises that in most circumstances you won’t need to see a doctor, and suggests rest, painkillers and healthy food. So don’t worry, tuck yourself up in bed, and make sure your housemates bring you plenty of tea.
In some rare cases, freshers’ flu could be something more serious. If your flatmate seems very ill, you should check for symptoms of meningitis, and seek immediate medical help if you are concerned.
Talk to someone
Starting university is a big change to your life, and at times you might feel overwhelmed. Everybody has ups and downs, but if your mood is damaging your quality of life, or affecting your studies and sleep, it’s important to talk to someone.
Your university will have a counselling service, and the The Samaritans will lend an ear any time – day or night. Your doctor will also be able to offer advice and prescribe treatment if necessary.
Taking just a little time and effort to look after yourself at uni will make a big difference to your student life. You’ll look and feel great, produce fantastic work, and still have loads of energy left over to have fun with your new friends.
Here at the Student Housing Company we know our stuff, so keep reading our blog for more advice on student living.