Freshers flu symptoms: Is it freshers flu or Covid?

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Never heard of freshers’ flu? It’s the phrase given to a general collection of illnesses contracted by new students during the first term of university in the UK. While the term would suggest the illness is the flu, that’s not always true. So what is freshers’ flu? And, could your symptoms actually be Covid? reveals everything you need to know, according to NetDoctor and the NHS.

Fresher’s flu isn’t a specific illness, it is the general term for becoming sick during the first few weeks or the first term of university in the UK.

Fresher’s flu isn’t a myth, it makes sense that illness would strike as you start university.

Typically, you start sleeping less, drinking more alcohol, eating a less healthy diet, and are surrounded by new people at university.

Fresher’s flu is normally nothing to worry about.

GP Dr Adam Simon told NetDoctor that the flu is normally “little more than a case of the sniffles coupled with a nasty hangover or two.”

In fact, the term is misleading because the illness might not include the actual flu.

Instead, fresher’s flu is often a really bad case of the common cold combined with a hangover.

Freshers flu symptoms

Although fresher’s flu isn’t a condition in its own right, the main symptoms of fresher’s flu include:

  • A blocked or runny nose
  • A sore throat
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Severe headache
  • Coughing
  • General discomfort and muscle ache
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Pressure in your ears and face

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Is it freshers flu or Covid?

Most first-year university students in the past haven’t had to worry about a pandemic, but it’s a different story at the moment.

Fresher’s flu needs to be taken more seriously now because the symptoms are so similar to coronavirus.

The main symptoms of Covid are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

The only way to tell if your fresher’s flu symptoms are actually coronavirus is to take a lateral flow or PCR test.

If you have a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, it could be COVID-19 and you should self isolate and take a test.

In the meantime, the NHS site recommends lots of rest, sleep and water, and to make sure you’re keeping warm.

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