If you've never heard of freshers' flu, I'm betting that you've lived under a rock your entire life. Freshers' flu is basically an umbrella term which describes a combination of symptoms such as a sore throat, headache and fever. It's not an actual diagnosable illness, yet it's infamous among students for bringing even the toughest of us crashing back down. Contrary to popular belief, it does not simply exist during freshers' week, but often travels well into the first month of actual uni (aka lectures) — and, if you've been smug about avoiding it during welcome week, that's probably when it'll descend upon you (because karma).

So here's a guide on how to minimise your suffering.

1. Start with a back up plan

Heema Gokani

It doesn't matter if you "never get ill" — pretty much everyone ends up suffering from some form of freshers' flu at some point. Buy Lemsip, multivitamins or whatever it is that works for you. Make sure you don't wait until you need them to purchase some — chances are, you won't fancy dragging yourself out of bed to pop to the shops when you've got a killer headache and snot oozing from your nose.

2. Educate yourself

Heema Gokani

Know the difference between a hangover and actually being ill. Neither is going to be pleasant, but it's important that you don't write off freshers' flu as a hangover — it doesn't tend to get any better by stuffing yourself with last night's pizza.

3. Plan your outings

alcohol, juice, vodka, lime, martini, cocktail
Olivia Benjamin

Sorry to be a party pooper, but I'm just gonna put it out there: it's not worth going to every single event. You will come back from some events and wonder why you ever wasted any amount of money going there. Add to that the fact that going out every night will wreak havoc on your body and I can guarantee you will be one of the first to fall ill. I'm not saying you shouldn't be spontaneous, I'm just saying you should think twice — choose some events that you'll actually enjoy; stay in some nights. It's all about balance.

4. Sleep

Heema Gokani

Sleep is so important and that's easy to forget when you're hell bent on getting the full freshers' experience. Going to bed at 6am and getting up for a 9am induction is just as exhausting as it sounds. It might be fun once, but your body will hate you. (Probably for quite a while.)

5. Keep hydrated

Heema Gokani

Especially if you're planning on drinking a lot, it's important to make sure you balance that with drinking enough water. Hydration is key to staying healthy and it's an easy way to help you to keep on top of your health.

6. Try to get a balanced diet

Eliane Lindeque

Takeaways are great (albeit expensive) but a certain amount of fruit and veg is needed to get all the vitamins and nutrients that you need. Your immune system needs all the help it can get during freshers — try to disadvantage it as little as possible!

Honestly, this list of top tips is partly things that I wish I'd done. If you're anything like me, you'll read this article and still make all the mistakes anyway — in that case, enjoy your freshers' flu and make sure you've got a packet of Lemsip capsules about!