Due to the high density of people at most universities, illness often spread quickly amongst the student population. Common illnesses include flu, coughs and colds and stomach bugs. A student lifestyle which consists of poor diet, a lack of sleep and too much alcohol does not lend itself to a healthy body and therefore many students are prone to catching illnesses.
It is important to try and eat as healthily as possible as this will boost your immune system and help to reduce the possibility of getting ill. Try to cook yourself rather than relying on fast food; these foods are often high in saturated fats and salt and can contribute to weight gain, bad skin and serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Try to exercise regularly; this will help to keep your body fit and healthy and will also reduce stress and boost energy levels.
Drinking is one of the activities most commonly associated with student life and while in many cases it can be harmless, the implications for prolonged heavy drinking can be very serious. Drinking occasionally is generally considered to be fine but you should be aware of your limits and the dangers associated with drinking too much. Drinking affects our ability to make decisions and means that you may end up doing something you would never have done if you were sober; poor sexual health is increasingly linked to alcohol consumption, particularly amongst young women. Alcohol can also make people emotional, irritable and aggressive which may cause disagreements between friends and may get you into trouble with other people; fights, for example, are primarily a result of excessive drinking.
Binge drinking is extremely dangerous as it puts great pressure on the vital organs and affects your ability to make decisions and behave normally; drinking may affect your ability to walk, talk properly and see straight; these effects may cause you to have an accident, which could potentially be fatal. Drinking also makes you feel like your invincible, which may cause you to do silly things like jump from heights for example.
Excessive drinking may cause you to lose consciousness; this can be extremely dangerous as when you drink too much your body starts to reject the alcohol by making you vomit. If you have passed out and are vomiting you may choke; this can potentially be fatal. If you see that somebody has passed out and is struggling to breathe or is vomiting in their sleep you should try to wake them and seek medical help as quickly as possible.
Many students smoke; in many cases this is a result of peer pressure rather than an individual desire to smoke. Be aware of the dangers associated with smoking before you decide to start smoking; these include increased risk of several forms of cancer, heart disease and respiratory illnesses.
Students are often offered drugs; you should be aware that drug abuse is illegal and can contribute to serious health conditions before you buy or consume any drugs. Drug abuse may cause heart problems and mental illnesses. The effects of many drugs are unpredictable and effect different people in different ways; try not to succumb to peer pressure, you can have a good night without risking your life. Universities have a zero tolerance policy on drugs and you will be forced to give up your place as well as facing legal proceedings.
Sexual health is generally poor amongst student populations, where incidences of STI’s and unwanted pregnancies are high. It is important to use contraception at all times; this will prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections and reduce the likelihood of conceiving an unwanted baby. Contraceptive measures are widely available at universities and they are free in most cases. Family planning centres also offer free contraception. Alcohol often affects people’s ability to make good judgements and this is common with sexual relationships; it is consequently beneficial to have regular sexual health check-ups.