Grab your Emergen-C babes, because the demon of the season is about to be unleashed. And I’m not talkin’ about that ex who always comes back during Mercury Retrograde — I’m talking about the “frat flu.”
Whether you get it second-hand or in the hallowed basements of a fraternity house, chances are that you won’t make it through college unscathed. The frat flu is a sickness that usually comes on after a weekend of little sleep, low carb intake, and quite a bit of alcohol consumption. And while this isn’t deadly, it can certainly feel like the end of the world.
‘”Frat flu’ is a term used to describe the feeling of sickness that can come after a night of partying. The reason for this is likely due to a combination of factors, including dehydration, exhaustion, and exposure to new people and germs,” Dr. David Seitz tells Her Campus. “Parties, especially college parties, are often held in cramped spaces with little ventilation. This can create an environment that is ideal for the spread of germs. Add in the fact that people are likely to be touching surfaces and each other throughout the night, and it’s no wonder that so many people end up sick after a night of partying.”
With Halloweekend, tailgates, and other parties coming around the corner, it’s important to stay healthy and take care of your mind and body. On top of taking proper precautions when it comes to illnesses like Monkeypox, COVID-19, and other things in the air, protecting yourself against something as harmless as the frat flu is just as important.
What Is The Frat Flu?
The frat flu isn’t even really a flu, opposite from what the name suggests. After a weekend of partying, our immune systems are weakened and more susceptible to bacteria. What follows are symptoms like a sore throat, congestion, headache, and nausea. Basically think of the frat flu as the common cold, but with a more fun, alliterative name.
The thing about the frat flu is this: it can spread easily. Even if you aren’t partying, college is a high-stress environment, and stress (on top of things like a lack of sleep) can leave your body vulnerable to sickness. For the sake of your peers (some of whom may be immunocompromised), it’s essential to be responsible when you’re feeling under the weather, even if it is just a cold. Remember: sickness impacts everyone differently!
“Of course, try to avoid sharing drinks, cigarettes, or anything else that might transmit germs,” Seitz says. “It might also be best to steer clear of anyone who looks or sounds sick, and take a shower as soon as you get home to help get rid of germs you may have picked up during the night.”
Fool-proof Frat Flu Treatments
So, let’s say you contract the frat flu. What’s next?
Like the common cold, there are a ton of remedies you can try at home to fend off the frat flu. And since it isn’t the most serious sickness on the planet, you can combat this nasty virus using things you probably already have on-hand.
This is already a rule of thumb when it comes to partying, but it’s even more important when frat flu season rolls around. Leading up to your weekend (or weekday, I don’t know when you party), be sure to hydrate yourself. Drink lots of water and stay away from excessive caffeine-consumption—easier said than done, I know. Even while you’re throwing down, continue to drink water or any other beverage that’s rich in electrolytes. Not only will this save you from a hangover, but it will also keep your body healthy enough to fend off bacteria and viruses. Drink up—H2O, that is.
Hot, Comforting fluids
One of the best remedies, when you’re feeling under the weather, is a hot, comforting cup of tea, or bowl of soup.
If you’ve been plagued with a sore throat, a cup of hot tea with lemon and honey will do wonders for your sickness. Both lemon and honey have anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe your throat and bring you the comfort you need. As for soup, a light broth can bring you that same soothing feeling when you aren’t feeling your best. Bonus points if it has ginger in it!
Rest, Rest, Rest (And Safely Medicate)
Finally, if you’ve been cursed with the frat flu, the best thing you can do for your body is rest. Since most parties on the weekend, you should have a bit of buffer time to recoup before heading back to classes.
However, if your symptoms worsen, it’s best to go to your campus health center. Keeping yourself from being sick is important, but it’s also essential to ensure the health of those around you! Get tested for COVID-19 and strep throat, and try to make as much space as possible between you and your peers (yes, that can even mean masking up!).
“If approved by your doctor, you can also try taking an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with any pain or fever you may be experiencing,” Seitz says. “And, of course, make sure to get plenty of sleep!”
Take care of yourself, bestie! Doctor’s orders!