Surviving Cold and Flu Season at Uni – Part 2

Now, despite following all the advice from my previous post about how to best avoid getting ill throughout flu season, somehow it still managed to get through- I blame that one guy in the lecture who didn’t stop coughing the whole time.

Here’s a few tips to make being ill and away from home comforts that little bit easier.

1- Stock up on Pain Killers.

Trust me on this one- there is nothing worse than being ill and having to get out of bed to go and buy painkillers and other supplements because you don’t have any in your room. It’s a good idea to keep a ready supply of both paracetamol and ibuprofen stocked up in case of any kind of illness or injury, but remember, most shops will only let you buy either two or three packs at a time, so don’t try to bulk buy all at once. There’s also no need to spend loads of money of them- I find that although the named brands may look prettier- they are not worth the £3-£5 you can spend on about 8 tablets. I prefer the non-branded store own pills that are so much cheaper and do exactly the same job, but also leave money left over for some other treats!

Lastly on pain killers, make sure you don’t just buy the variety that contain caffeine. There is nothing worse than not being able to sleep when you’re ill because your pain killers also contain caffeine.

2- Know your Dosages.

Always read the instructions on the back of any medicine containing supplement, including lozenges and drinks, as the last thing you want to do is to take too much or too little. But as a general rule- yes, you should be able to take paracetamol and ibuprofen together, and this will help fight off any illness quicker- but always check the packaging first

3- Drink Plenty

… of water and other healthy fluids to help flush the illness out of your system- effervescent vitamins are great in this situation. Warm drinks (such as honey and lemon or hot squash) will also help to unblock sinuses and soothe sore throats.

4- Fresh Air

Although leaving the confines of you cozy bed might be the last thing you want to do, getting out in the fresh air will help you to feel better sooner, and it gives you the opportunity to stock up on any essentials you might have run out of, such as ice cream. Make sure you wrap up warm!

That’s all for now, I hope if you’re I’ll you feel better soon, and if you’re not, then lucky you! Disclaimer- I am not a doctor! If you feel really unwell or have any questions regarding health, speak to a professional.

Surviving Cold and Flu Season at Uni – Part 1

Through the winter months, wherever you decide to go to uni (unless it’s somewhere sunny like Australia) you will inevitably come across someone with a cold, who- with just one ill times sneeze- can pass all of their germs onto you. This merry-go-round of bugs is especially heightened at uni, because you will be interacting with new people all of the time from all  around the country and some further afield that will all bring different kinds of winter flu and cold that your body hasn’t encountered before. It may well also be your first time being ill away from home, so things might seem a bit daunting without mum around to check up on you every few hours and feed you dry toast.

But don’t fear, as I have complied a list of a few little tricks to help to avoid being caught by the bugs in the first place, and part 2 will be about how to cope when you do have them!

1- Flu Jab.

Along with the highly recommended and pretty much essential meningitis vaccination you will be offered prior to starting uni, you can also request to have the flu jab. Some people will be even able to get it for free, depending on conditions such as asthma. Even if you’re not legible for the free jab, it’s well worth the few pennies you’ll pay and can help you avoid the flu during the colder months.

2- Vitamins

Now, I’m going to sound like my mum here, but hear me out. Taking a daily vitamin supplement can be great in the fight against germs as it will give your body the best possible defences for keeping you healthy. You may also find that taking vitamins daily will help improve your energy levels and general all round health and well-being.  Vitamins come in all shapes and forms, and you do not have to spend a fortune if you don’t want to. You can get vitamins to swallow with water, to chew, or to dissolve in a drink, depending on your preference- there’s even a pretty good range in poundland!

Vitamins and minerals can also be obtained naturally by eating more fruit and veg, rather than just instant noodles and microwavable meals!

3- Staying Warm

Although an alcohol blanket may feel like enough to keep you warm on a night out, it actually doesn’t do much good for your immune system. On nights out, try taking a small jacket or scarf with you that can fold up into a bag for once you’re out. If even that doesn’t sound like you- avoid walking long distances in the cold without an outer layer, especially if it’s raining.

Secondly in staying warm, if you live off campus, it might be worth investing a little more money in keeping your place warmer over winter, or making use of lots of woolly jumpers and hot water bottles, as there’s nothing worse than coming in from a long day at uni to a cold home.

That’s all for now, but if this post has come a little too late for some and you’re already suffering, look out for my next as it will be based around surviving a cold at uni.

 

Looking After Yourself at Uni

University tends to be where most people learn to become independent and start fending for themselves. However, this can be a shock to the system for some people and prove to be incredibly difficult. It is very important to keep yourself healthy and happy, especially at university as poor health can affect your participation and performance, so I’ve compiled a few tips that will hopefully help you look after yourself.

Register with a GP

Whether you are a relatively healthy person or have an on-going illness, it is important to register with a local GP when you start uni. This way you don’t have to keep going home whenever something happens and you can have all your prescriptions where they need to be. Information about registering with Edge Hill’s local surgery – Beacon Primary Care – can be found here. The health and wellbeing centre also offer a lot of health support, including mental and sexual health, this information can also be found on the health section of the Edge Hill website.

Seek emotional support when needed

Following on from the health side of things, it is also important to seek emotional support when you need it. University can be very stressful at times and being away from home doesn’t always help. Always make sure you have someone to talk to whether that’s a friend, family member or a counselling program. Edge Hill also offer a range of workshops, relaxation sessions, support group and one-to-one counselling if you’re struggling with personal problems, or any aspect of uni life. Further information can be found here.

Cook proper meals

Moving to uni means that you will have to cook for yourself. Come on, we all know take aways are not a sustainable way to live, as yummy as they are. If you’re nervous about what to cook why not get together with your friends and take it in turns to cook for each other? I did this with a friend throughout first year and I picked up so many new recipes that have now become the things I eat on a regular basis. It’s important to keep a balanced diet for physical health, as well as concentration reasons, Rhiannon Thomas has recently written a great blog post on this subject and I urge you to check it out. 

Keep things clean

Cleaning is, unfortunately another essential part of looking after yourself. Keeping your room tidy and dust-free can have so many health benefits from reducing allergic reactions to making you feel cleaner and happier. Leaving your bathroom to stew in its own filth for a month is not only disgusting but detrimental to your health. I recommend putting aside a couple of hours a week to do a full clean of the areas of your flat you’re responsible for, it won’t take all day and it will leave you feeling happier and more productive.

Until next time! 🙂

Doctors and Dentists

So mums, dads, aunties, uncles, grandmas, grandads… there are lots of family members that will be super excited and proud of you for starting uni.

So that means that there are also many family members that will care for your well-being! The notorious freshers’ flu will undoubtedly do the rounds when you start uni, so you need to make sure you’re prepared in case you do need to see a doctor or even dentist!

Freshers’ flu basically means you need to stock up on paracetamol, lemsip and tissues amongst whatever else you normally take when you have a cold or flu etc. But hopefully you’ll be one of the lucky ones that is immune to this cold and you can freely enjoy the first term of uni unscathed! However, unfortunately, you still may catch something during the years you’re at Edge Hill, for most people this is inevitable.

So in Ormskirk there are many GPs (just google it) with their own enrolment that you will need to follow (bear in mind you can only be signed up to one GP at any time). I personally never moved doctors as I am close enough to home to go back if I need to, although I have used Ormskirk Hospital’s Walk-in Centre which is brilliant! So if you struggle to get an appointment I would highly recommend you pay the Walk-in a visit.

However with dentists you can be signed up to as many as you want, so feel free again to google this and sign up to one that’s convenient for you.

There are normally doctors and dentist practices at Freshers’ Fair so feel free to pop down and ask them any questions or sign up!!

So remember… take care of yourself!

Why do a Course with a Placement?

So if you choose a course that involves a placement you’ve made a brilliant choice as you get the best opportunity to experience the field of work you want to pursue.

Depending on what course you do depends what time of year you’ll be out on placement. But regardless of the time of year… let’s face it, the best type of experience is the hands-on kind; there’s no better way to learn and improve.

Some examples of courses that have elements of placements involved in the course are early years, primary and secondary education, nursing and midwifery. These placements are tailored to the course so you’ll be sent out in a cohort, meaning that you won’t miss any contact time with tutors or miss lectures. Which is all good news seen as you will definitely have enough work to do throughout the year, boredom is never an issue.

Personally I’ve found that going on placement is great in the sense you truly understand what job you’re building up towards; by that I mean what’s expected of you on a day-to-day basis. Most of what is involved in the job you probably have never thought of and overlooked, meaning you know all the ins and outs before your three years are up. Employability-wise this experience is definitely going to look most favourable when going for jobs, definitely something you have to think about before you start your degree.

I hope this insight into placements has helped!

Your Mental Wellbeing!

I bet looking back on your GCSE’s now you’re thinking that compared to A Levels they were a piece of cake and you can’t believe you ever moaned at the stress and workload! Well uni is the same! However you’ll be glad to hear that the jump from A Levels to uni is not as great as the one you found when you started college.

I honestly cannot stress enough how important organisation is at uni, you are responsible for your own learning, achievement and development! But of course you are not in your own, from my experience at uni it is very easy to get distracted and procrastinate.

In one of my recent lectures we were spoken to about the importance of our mental wellbeing by Megan Blissett, the student mental health adviser. The amount that stress and pressure can impact on you is unbelievable! It’s sooo important you look after yourself in every aspect both mentally and physically!

Things such as a good nights sleep, not drinking energy drinks and managing your work so you have some time to do what you want will REALLY help you at uni. But if you’re struggling it’s always fab to know that there’s a team at Edge Hill that you can use free of charge that will help and support you!

If you want to get in contact with any of the student services team please look here and they will be more than happy to help you or point you in the right direction if you need any help!

Remember, look after yourself!!

The Things You Don’t Think About…

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t give a second thought as to my doctors/dentist situation before coming to uni! The first time I thought about this was when it was mentioned at freshers’ fair during the first week!

At the freshers’ fair there are stalls of local doctors and dentists in Ormskirk which offer more information on signing up. I highly recommend that you do this as you’ll be at uni for around 9 months and unfortunately there’s a high chance you’re going to get ill – especially with freshers’ flu knocking about!

I was ill quite a bit during my first year, I didn’t have the best luck! I would suggest that you visit your doctors before you come to university, they may suggest getting a meningitis jab, something worth thinking about it to stay on the safe side.

Anyway as a heads up I can tell you what’s available at Edge Hill/Ormskirk, the best facility I’ve found is the walk-in centre at the hospital. It is literally a 5-minute walk from the back entrance at uni, not far at all! You don’t need to be signed to a GP either to visit which is great if you’ve forgotten or haven’t got round to it! Here’s a link for more information in regarding what they treat at the walk-in.

The Uni also offers a health and wellbeing service at Milton House, which again is about a 2 minute walk from the uni’s back entrance! The Student Wellbeing team provides a range of support on areas including mental health and wellbeing, sexual health, diet and exercise, and drugs and alcohol. For more information please look at this link provided by Edge Hill to the available health services on campus. Also via the link you can look at the nearby GP/dentist services in the local area.

Best of luck, take care of yourself!

Your health at university

One thing I cannot stress enough is how important it is to register for the local health practice when you’re at university (where ever that might be)  and some universities even have their own one. Edge Hill has its own health centre on “Ruff lane” which is linked to the health practice “The Elms Practice”. Since being at University I have needed this service a few times when I’ve needed to see a nurse/doctor about my health needs.

You can easily register for the Elms Practice at Fresher’s week (more on that in a future blog) or online by clicking on the link below…

https://theelmspractice.secure-gpsite.nhs.uk/new-patient-questionnaire,44972.htm

Another thing I would recommend you doing is getting a HC1 form from a chemist, or your current medical practice. This is a NHS form that allows you to get financial help with prescription charges. I have never actually handed one in so whenever I have to have a prescription that isn’t free, I have to pay for it (and believe you me, prescriptions aren’t cheap these days). So don’t make the same mistake as me…