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Whether it’s UCL, St. Andrews or Exeter, leaving home to go to university and making it on your own can be exciting and daunting in equal measures.
As well as taking out insurance, packing your laptop, cans of baked beans and yoga mat, we think it’s just as important to take a look at your health before you get in the car and start this life changing journey.
Life in halls or a shared house can be fun, but with mum not there to tell you to wash your hands (we know she still does) or your best mate to remind you to ‘be careful’ when you go on a date, things can soon slide, but we are here to make sure they don’t.
Your red book will probably be safe in the loft, but before the big days arrives, do some research and just check that your tetanus, measles, mumps and meningitis jabs are all up to date. While you’re at it, the NHS website gives some pretty good advice on what to look for when it comes to symptoms for these illness, so grab a coffee and have a read, just to be on the safe side.
Yes, we know this is boring, but packing a mini first aid kit might be a good idea. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, plasters and antiseptic can all be added to the family shop before you go away and you can store them in a biscuit tin and use when the need occurs.
Let’s Talk About Sex
Whether you are in a long-term relationship or are young, free and single, it is worth having a chat with your practise nurse about contraception for when you are away. There will lots of parties, and booze, when you hit Fresher’s Week and while hangovers go away STIs and pregnancies will last for longer, so be safe.
If you take any other regular medication, maybe anti-depressants or you have an inhaler, make sure you get a supply of these before you leave and then find out who your local GP is or sign up with the University Medical Centre and store their numbers in your phone. Now, if you do have a long-term condition, such as diabetes or epilepsy, you don’t need to broadcast it to the world, but it might be worth giving your flatmates the low down and letting them know where any vital medicines are kept.
Your teeth are important so have a check up and get any treatment done before you go to uni. You can also use this as a chance to book your next appointment for February half term and if you don’t think you’ll be back, ask your Student Union about local dentists and register, fast, and do the say with the local GP or
Get the Digits Down
Keep a number for next of kin in your mobile phone under NOK or ICE (‘next of kin’ or ‘in case of emergency’) and find out where the local A&E and drop-in health centres are and make a note of the numbers because you never know when you might need them.
You’ve probably heard the rumours about this one but many freshers go down with a cold type virus in the first half term simply because they are coming into contact with lots of new people and their germs. Try to eat a good diet (not just pizza and chips at midnight), drink plenty of water, take a vitamin supplement and if you can, do get some sleep as all of this will help keep your immune system strong. If you fall ill with a virus, antibiotics won’t help, so wrap up, get some rest and head to that first aid box you thought we were making a fuss about.
Whatever else you do, have fun and enjoy!