Keeping bugs at bay: staying well at uni

It’s winter, it’s cold, and it’s dark. In other words, now is a germ’s favourite time of year. Being ill at uni can seriously set you back a few weeks with your work, and being stuck in bed while everyone’s having fun is depressing, so keeping your immune system up is serious business.

Gone are the school days when being ill was a stroke of some serious good luck. Back then, illnesses entailed a whole day in front of the TV watching cartoons, our mums waiting on us hand and foot, and, of course, missing that long dreaded maths test.

At university, however, illnesses are a completely different story. There are no luxuries to illnesses anymore – our mums aren’t there to look after us and missing lectures is extremely stressful, not to mention a downer on class participation scores.

A good way to keep your immune system up is taking vitamin C regularly. You can buy vitamin supplements from the supermarket cheaply, or you can simply make sure you have an orange, or glass of orange juice a day. You can also find vitamin C in peppers, kiwis, grapefruit, strawberries and, the ever divisive Brussels sprouts.

Another good tip is keeping fit and active. Exercising keeps your body strong and makes you feel great. It’s scientifically proven to boost your immune system, making it easier for you to fight off germs.

Irregular sleep patterns are part of the student lifestyle – you’re either up partying, or you’ve literally left writing your essay until the last minute. Going to bed in the early hours of the morning and waking up at twilight is not good for your health, let alone your overall mood, so keep a good sleep routine. Make sure you go to bed at a good time and wake up before the afternoon.

A clear way to keep germs at bay is to keep your student digs clean and tidy. This may be hard if you live with a complete slob, but keeping surfaces and your kitchen clean is important to keeping germs away. Similarly, avoid people who are sick like the plague. Almost all cold and flu viruses are passed on by direct human contact, so if someone near you sneezes move away!

If you are unfortunate enough to get sick, make sure you email your lecturers and ask to borrow someone’s lecture notes, but more importantly, take plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and stay away from others!