Tea and Tickly Coughs: Freshers’ flu and how to survive it

| Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Nothing signals the beginning of the university experience more than freshers’ flu. Lectures, parties, clubbing; the pungent threat of freshers’ flu hangs over them. Indeed, life calls for sacrifice and the clogged nose and sore throat is the price we pay for these moments of interaction and fun. Of course, the best way to beat freshers’ flu is to not catch it in the first place, a plan far easier said than practiced.

I myself had been thankfully free from the scourge of freshers’ flu due to my staying inside during the first few weeks of this term. It seemed that self-inflicted social isolation would save me nights of sniffles, but alas, soon I too was out, dancing to ABBA in Falmouth’s bustling social scene. The night was fun, but I blame that closely packed, iron maiden of elbows we call dancefloors for my present cough. With my immune system weakened by late nights and early risings, I was perfect prey for germs.

So, now my focus has turned from prevention to management. An already rough morning was compounded with coughs and sore bones. Given the current pandemic, an irrational fear of coughing reared its head; no one wants to be the one to cough in a crowded area and earn the concerned stare of the surrounding faces. Of course, the first thing I did was to take a COVID test, and prove my healthiness. Now I felt confident coughing. Then I took more tests just to be totally sure.

I’ve found that my throat has been perpetually sore, my voice somewhat croaky and sleeping consists of struggling to breathe through a singular nostril. Perhaps more dramatically, I heard the tale of a friend who tells me that they were bed-ridden for a couple of days. She also revealed that it is possible that she infected me, but blaming my night out spares her the guilt.

Of course, the best way to beat freshers’ flu is to not catch it in the first place, a plan far easier said than practiced

The first thing I did was make sure I was warm. The warm shower has helped alleviate the stuffy chest feeling, and I’ve broken out my considerable collection of knitwear. Not only is it rather dashing, but also keeps out the Cornish cold. A hot water bottle has similarly seemed to help calm some of my symptoms. 

Tea has also been a great help, keeping me warm and hydrated. Of course coffee might work similarly well, but I’m more of a tea man myself. I’ve also been taking great care not to over exert myself, although frankly the chances of that happening were slim to begin with. Rest is, of course, very important for beating any disease so I’ve been getting in as much as I can. I’ve also been staying out of the frankly torrential rain that seems to have hit Falmouth recently. I also have been investing heavily in biscuits. This has nothing to do with freshers’ flu, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

| Sixteen Miles Out / Unsplash

Speaking with a number of others, I hear similar stories; people who have been suffering through a particularly nasty freshers’ flu. According to scientists, this has something to do with the last year and a half of lockdown causing a drop in flu immunity. I seem to be on the mend, with sniffles only affecting me when I’m tired. But if you too fall victim to freshers’ flu, why not consider some of my remedies above?

Although I feel better now, I don’t look forward to coming back after Christmas, just in time for freshers’ flu 2.0.