University essentials Part 3 Student Health – Common Ailments

At In a Box Group Ltd we have put together a University Essentials Guide covering various different aspects of university life giving you the student essentials necessary to have a happy and safe time whilst you are at College and University.

We will be posting different subjects on our blog so make sure you check out the ones already done and keep an eye out for the future blogs and subjects we will cover.

This blog is looking at the student essentials of common ailments!  We hope you will find it useful. Our next article will look at a broader range of student health issues so watch out for that!

Being aware of the health issues is essential for university students to be able to identify when to self-medicate, when to go to the GP and when to rush to hospital. Just remember one thing, even if you have a wide knowledge of medical issues nothing compares to a medical professional so if in doubt check it out!

Coughs and Splutters

Coughs and splutters are pretty common and are usually caused by a viral infection.  More times than not they sort themselves out after a few days though they can last up to a few weeks.

So what can you do to help the process, here are the essentials for university students:

  • Rest and drink lots of fluids.
  • Paracetamol can be good to take the edge of any aches and pain and can also help lower temperatures.
  • If after a week your symptoms appear to be getting worse or don’t improve AT ALL you may need to consult your doctor.

Vomiting and the Runs

Again there are some steps that you can take to help.

  • Little sips and often. Try not to drink huge quantities in one go but do drink enough.  Both diarrhea and vomiting dehydrate you so it’s important to rehydrate. Try to sip flat drinks preferably with some sugar in it for example flat Lucozade sport to get some calories into you! Avoid the fizzy stuff though.
  • If at all possible, cut back on solid foods and definitely avoid anything that is acidic.
  • There are many over the counter antidiarrheal medication like Imodium which can help ease symptoms.
  • If your symptoms are not improving after a 48-hour period, you should consult a Doctor.

Burns or Scalds

Rule 1 – no panicking, just follow these simple steps

  • Run the area under cold water for 10 minutes or until the pain subsides.
  • If it blisters apply a dry, clean loose dressing.
  • Take a painkiller like paracetamol if the pain is too much.
  • If the skin is broken or the area is larger than 5 inches in diameter go immediately to your local accident and emergency department.


Sprains are a real pain!  It is often ligament damage and they can take 4 – 6 weeks on average to mend.  The acronym of ‘’RICE’’ can be very useful.

  • REST
  • ICE for up to 30 minutes can reduce pain and swelling
  • After 48 hours if you aren’t able to slow gentle movement then consult your GP


  • Wash with clean water.
  • Put on a clean dressing and apply pressure to reduce the bleeding.
  • Raise the injury to reduce the bleeding.
  • Once the bleeding has stopped put a clean dressing on the wound.
  • Go to hospital if the wound cannot be cleaned or the bleeding is uncontrollable, maintain pressure on the wound.


  • Take a mild antihistamine.
  • E45 can be useful if it is itchy.
  • Contact your doctor is the rash lasts more than 48 hours.
  • Go to hospital if the rash doesn’t disappear when a glass is rolled over it (see section on meningitis), or you have any tongue swelling or difficulty breathing.

Nose Bleeds

  • Don’t fall for the old advice of putting your head back!
  • Sit upright over a bowl and pinch your nose just below the bone for 10 minutes.
  • If this is unsuccessful and the bleeding doesn’t appear to stop after two attempts go to the hospital.
  • Avoid blowing your nose or having hot drinks for the next 24 hours if possible.

Watch out for the Nasties …. Infectious Diseases

Any signs of these and consult a medical professional ASAP! Below is a list of some of the nasties to watch out for and their main symptoms


  • High temperature – sometimes with chills
  • Severe headache
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Nausea and or Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Drowsiness and/or confusion
  • Sore throat
  • Seizure
  • A rash which doesn’t disappear if you roll a glass over it


  • You will feel generally unwell
  • A patchy red rash will develop on the face and body
  • Dry cough
  • Red eyes
  • Intolerance to light


  • A swelling just in front of you ear in most cases this will be on both sides
  • Pain
  • Fever

Chicken Pox

  • Rash – small red 3mm spots which turn into blisters
  • These can affect the scalp
  • It this affects the palate swallowing can be difficult.


  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Aching
  • Tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty Sleeping

Also read: What to Take to University?