Avoiding Student Illness in Winter

Avoiding student illness in Winter, however, can be difficult. This is the time when illnesses such as colds and flu spread the most, with many people travelling all over the country during the holidays and returning to university, Viruses and bugs travel with them.

If you’ve suffered from freshers flu, you know of the struggle of adjusting to a new term and fitting in everything whilst feeling under the weather. Avoiding student illness in Winter, however, can be difficult. This is the time when illnesses such as colds and flu spread the most, with many people travelling all over the country during the holidays and returning to university, Viruses and bugs travel with them. Coupled with the environmental factors of mixing with others, in and out of hot and cold environments can help spread them. Here are some ways you can help protect yourself from winter illnesses as you return to university.

How to avoid student illness in winter

Eat and Drink sensibly

Especially around the holidays, we tend to eat sweet, less healthy foods and foods that are rich. Remember that they might not always be good for your immune system overindulging. With the busy holiday period, saving time or socialising leads to ordering takeaways for ease. Again overindulgence here isn’t the best option for your health. By all means make sure you don’t necessarily stop, just try to eat healthy in between.

Eating enough fruit and vegetables and keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water is excellent to give your body ample fuel to fight of any illnesses lurking. Balancing your diet to intake iron, protein and calcium will also help with getting the right nutrients your body needs.

Use a little help every day.

Although never a substitute for a balanced diet, taking multivitamins can help to provide some of those much-needed vitamins and minerals that may have been left out of your diet for the day.

Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Zinc and the main vitamins you should look to supplement to fight off any illnesses when looking at supplementing your diet with multivitamins. However, one thing that everyone’s body lacks during the winter months is vitamin D. This is manufactured by our bodies from sunlight. With the dark short winter days in the UK, and more time spent indoors. We struggle to produce lots of this vitamin. So supplementing it is the best way to go either by multivitamins or to increase the amount of fish or other vitamin D-rich foods in your diet. Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D such as breakfast cereals.

Look after your sleep health

Tiredness and late nights can have a knock-on effect of not giving your body enough energy to fight off potential infections and illness.

When Ill sleeping is one of the best ways to help you recover and let your body heal. But getting 7-8 hours of good quality sleep a night can help protect yourself by keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Becoming tired and run down through illness can put you back in bed anyway, but not at the time of your choosing.


It’s the middle of winter, with rain, snow, winds and freezing temperatures. Exercising is probably the last thing on your mind, but for your health exercise can keep your body fit and help reduce the likelihood of getting a cold. Like everything in moderation, overdoing a workout, a run or down at the gym can lead to fatigue which can increase the chance of illness. so be mindful of what you do.

One bonus of exercising is that it can benefit your mental and physical health, which can also affect how your body copes in terms of illness.

Manage stress

The body and mind are interwoven and connected, Stress can contribute to a lower immune system, The pressures of the modern world today with everything that is happening can easily affect your stress levels. This is before you even think about the added pressures of being a student and learning

Looking at ways to manage your stress levels such as taking time out and breaks, and spending time with others, exercise is an example of a way to remove stress temporarily. Mindfulness or breathing techniques and meditation might help if you need to destress quickly.

Avoiding student illness in winter, look after your environment

Boosting your immune system is one part of avoiding winter illness, stopping the spread is the other side of the coin. Keeping your student accommodation clean and tidy is one way to stop harmful bacteria and viruses from spreading. Communal areas such as kitchens are harbingers of bacteria that can spread from heat and spills. Used by multiple people transmission becomes higher.

Touch points such as door handles, tv remotes, kettle handles, taps and chairs are often overlooked when cleaning. These and many other items that are touched by many give bacteria and viruses the perfect place for transmission between people. so think carefully about where you need to wipe down.

Try not to share household items like cups or tea towels between people to minimise the risk of passing on anything.

Stay warm

Although easier said than done with cold weather outside and heating being unaffordable, try to keep warm where you can, extra layers, draught excluders around doors, hot drinks or hot showers can help you warm up. Sitting still can quickly make you feel cold so getting up regularly to walk around or exercise is an easy way to get the warm blood flowing around your body and warming you up.

Avoid others, practice good hygiene

After 2 years of covid-19 advice on hygiene and distancing it still can come into use to help you stop contracting illnesses. We don’t mean completely avoiding people, but if you meet someone who has a cold or flu, keep your distance where possible. If inside open a window to let air circulate through if it’s not too cold outside. Remember the days when we used hand sanitiser everywhere we went? Many places still have them available at entrances so use them. Good hygiene practices don’t have to stop now the pandemic is over.

Even the best practices can’t always stop student illness in winter.

Sometimes you can’t avoid illness, especially if you come across a strain your body hasn’t been able to fight before. when this happens we just have to accept that we need to rest and recuperate properly. And drink plenty of fluids.


These tips are provided as no guarantee to prevent illness or should anyway be constituted as medical advice, Where possible always consult your GP, pharmacist or other qualified medical professional for advice on the prevention of illness and any dietary changes.

For more information view the NHS Website

About Thornsett Properties

Thornsett Properties have been providing modern student accommodation in Sheffield since 1985. We supply accommodation to over 650 undergraduates and postgraduate students studying at Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University every year. Designed to fit with your budget whilst looking for student accommodation. Thornsett Properties are property owners and not agents. All our properties are managed by ourselves and not reliant on third parties. We aim to help you succeed in finding student accommodation in Sheffield


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