Don't be a sickly student

Don't be a sickly student

Don't be a sickly student

By the end of freshers’ week, many students will start resembling pale legions of the undead.  Here’s how to tackle five of the ailments most likely to affect students:

Freshers’ flu
Symptoms: Headaches, aching limbs, fever, sore throat, cough, lethargy, runny nose.
Treatment: Fluids and rest, but if you suspect swine flu, you may be prescribed Tamiflu. “The most likely cause of fresher flu,” says Jedrzejewski, “is the convergence of large numbers of people arriving from all parts of the country, or even the world, many carrying germs to which they are immune; other students, though, will have not have had a chance to acquire the necessary immunity.”

Symptoms: Lethargy, overwhelming negative emotions, appetite loss.
Treatment: Counselling, medication, exercise. Starting university can send students on a rollercoaster of emotions from excitement and a sense of liberation to apprehension and homesickness. “Also, mature students juggle family responsibilities and financial worries with academic work,” says Jedrzejewski. Most universities have a campus counselling service, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Symptoms: Up to 70 per cent of female sufferers (50 per cent of men) show none, but common indicators for both sexes are a burning sensation when urinating and abnormal discharge.
Treatment: Look out for on-campus screening campaigns or visit your GP, who can diagnose it and prescribe antibiotics. Chlamydia, if untreated, can cause infertility. Using condoms can help you avoid contracting it but it can also be transmitted by oral sex.

Glandular fever
Symptoms: Fatigue, sore throat, swollen glands in neck, skin rash.
Treatment: Antibiotics are not effective, so rest, especially for the first weeks of illness, and take plenty of fluids. Known as “the kissing disease” since it is passed by close contact, this chronic condition is debilitating and may disrupt study.

Symptoms: Alcohol dependence, frequently getting into alcohol-related trouble and being warned by friends about your intake.
Treatment: Cut down alcohol intake, seeking help from your GP or university if necessary. Excessive drinking can cause cirrhosis of the liver, and is linked to an increase in certain cancers, including that of the bowel. Try not to exceed the recommended weekly units of 21 for a man and 14 for a woman. A small glass of wine, or half a pint of beer is one unit.

Food poisoning
Symptoms: Diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting.
Treatment: In severe cases, lasting longer than four days, a GP will identify the bacteria responsible in a stool sample, then prescribe antibiotics. In milder cases, take plenty of fluids. Prevent spreading germs by washing hands often and keeping kitchens, dishcloths and tea-towels clean. "Accommodation services can assist in sorting out cleaning disputes,"  says Kathryn Ramsden, head of student wellbeing at Salford University. Most universities will do this for halls of residences.

The Guardian