Everything You Need To Know About Fresher’s Flu

Everything You Need To Know About Fresher’s Flu 

You’ve got your acceptance letter, got your grades and you’re all set to head off to university – congratulations! This is an exciting new chapter and a time to make lots of incredible new memories.  

And while there are a lot of things to look forward to at university, one of the things you don’t to encounter is the notorious ‘Fresher’s Flu’. A not-so-cute nickname for an illness that typically affects new students when they start university, fresher’s flu can spread easily, leaving you feeling rotten when you should be enjoying those first months of university.  

So what exactly is fresher’s flu and how can you prevent it? Learn more in our handy guide to fresher’s flu. 

What is fresher’s flu? 

‘Fresher’ is short for ‘freshman’, the name given to students in their first year at university. ‘Freshers’ is also a nickname for the ‘Fresher’s Week’ that happens at the beginning of the academic year, where there are various social activities and inductions put on for students to help them settle into university life. 

Fresher’s flu is the name for an illness that typically grips students during their early university days. It’s not actually flu, and instead is a catch-all term for the conditions that individuals may experience during this time, including colds and other viruses. As students share communal living spaces and spend a lot of time in each other’s company, germs can spread easily, meaning many people can be affected quickly. Over time, students become more immune, helping to prevent reoccurrences in the future. 

Common fresher’s flu symptoms 

The symptoms of fresher’s flu symptoms can vary, and are usually mild. Some of the symptoms associated with fresher’s flu include: 

  • Runny or blocked nose 
  • Cough 
  • Headache 
  • Sore throat 
  • Fatigue 
  • Mild fever 

These types of symptoms can make you feel generally unwell, but not too dissimilar to a mild cold.  While dealing with cold and flu symptoms can be unpleasant, fresher’s flu is usually nothing to worry about. 

Preventing fresher’s flu 

Colds and other viruses can be difficult to prevent, especially when there are a lot of people interacting with each other closely. However, good hygiene and self-care can go a long way to keeping you healthy during your time at university. Some great tips to help prevent fresher’s flu include: 

Practice good hygiene 

Good hygiene is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of germs and viruses. It’s important to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, especially after using shared facilities and eating or drinking. You can also use hand sanitiser if there aren’t any hand washing facilities available.

Keep your living space clean  

Try to avoid falling into the cliché of the messy student – keep your accommodation clean. Invest in some antibacterial cleaning products and learn how to deep clean effectively. Regularly wipe down your surfaces, desk area, kitchen and bathroom to help keep germs at bay.  

Boost your immune system 

Staying fit and healthy can provide a big boost to your immunity, as well as help you stay energised and active. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and try to get enough sleep. Maintaining some healthy habits is a simple way to keep your immune system strong, helping you avoid illness and infections – especially during the colder months.  

Avoid sharing personal items 

Try to avoid sharing personal items such as towels, glasses, and kitchen items. These can make it easy to spread germs, and your housemates may not wash things as diligently as you do. Try to remember this when you’re playing drinking games together! 

Coping with fresher’s flu 

If you do succumb to the dreaded fresher’s flu, there are some things you can do to help yourself feel better: 

Give yourself plenty of rest 

Rest is the most important thing when fighting off fresher’s flu. Give your body the time to recover and be sure to get plenty of sleep. 

Stay hydrated 

Drink plenty of fluids to help alleviate some of your symptoms. Water, herbal teas and soups can provide comfort while also helping you stay hydrated. 

Try over-the-counter medications 

If you need some help tackling some of your symptoms, you could pay a visit to the pharmacist for some medication that could help. Pain relief could help reduce fever and tackle headaches as well as aches and pains, while decongestants and throat lozenges can be useful to ease some of your other symptoms. Seek advice if needed and always read the label. 

Seek medical advice 

The NHS recommends if your flu symptoms don’t improve after 7 days, or you develop some severe symptoms, seek medical advice. Your university should have guidance on where to seek healthcare advice or direct you to nearby GP practices.


Stay safe with phs 

At phs, we supply a range of products designed to help you maintain clean and hygienic workspaces. You can buy bulk cleaning products to help you keep your space clean throughout the year, and save a little money too. 

Your introduction to university should be fun and memorable, so take steps to prevent fresher’s flu so you can get your university days off to a fit and healthy start! 


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