1. Plan ahead
The first few weeks of university are a whirlwind of activity so use the time now to sort out any necessary health arrangements. This should include signing up for a GP. Most uni towns will have their own health centre, where the GPs are familiar with issues that students frequently face. Whilst you’ll be there the majority of the time, when you’re back home for the holidays you can still visit your local GP for up to 14 days of care., before needing to register as a temporary resident.
If you have a serious condition that could affect your day to day uni life- make sure you alert the university, including those in charge of your accommodation and department ahead of time.
2. Make sure your records follow you
GP services don’t necessarily pass on your records when you sign up to a new practice, so once you’ve registered, ask for your files to be shared with your new GP. This is particularly important if you have a repeat prescription, as it will make life easier when it comes to ordering your next set of medication.
3. Stock up
You don’t want to be having to go to your new GP in fresher’s week because you’ve already run out of your medication so a quick trip to your home GP to get a refill before you leave can be a smart decision.
4. Going abroad? Extra preparation is needed
For those students going to university in another country- whether as close as Scotland or as far away as Australia- you must be aware of the new healthcare system you are entering and what this might mean for your health condition. For example, in Scotland, prescriptions are free. Do some research into the country you are going to and if you can register with a doctor do so. If you take medication, make sure to bring a note from your doctor with you, alongside your prescription. Having these translated will also be beneficial if you’re going to a non-English speaking country.
5. Keep to your routine
A routine can be difficult to maintain at university- particularly for those who have very few contact hours on their degree. However, it can be important for some health conditions, especially if you take medication for it. Some medications need to be taken at a set time each day. Setting reminders through an app like Echo can help you keep track of your medication.
6. Take advantage of technology
University will often be the first time you have sole responsibility for your health, with no Mum and Dad around to make sure you’re picking up your prescription or taking your medication. However, tech can help you. Along with the apps helping you track your lectures or find out about local club nights, apps like Echo allow you to manage your medication by sending out reminders for when to take it, and when to order more – delivering the medication straight to your door. Leaving you to enjoy the university experience to the full.
7. Tell your friends and flatmates
If you have a serious health condition, allergies or take repeat medication tell at least one friend or flatmate. In case something goes wrong you’ll want someone close by that knows and understands your condition.
8. Find your support network
According to YouGov one in four uni students have a mental health condition. Stress and anxiety can be common as you deal with challenging work, tight deadlines and living by yourself. However, if you do have or develop a mental health issue during your time, you will not be alone. There are a number of groups that can help support you during these times from your GP, to wellbeing services to student led support groups . Make sure you are aware of the groups available to you and use them as you need. This will also mean you are equipped to advise and support others.
Factor in new prescription costs that come in when you turn 19 and at Uni, usually £8.80. To reduce this cost look for pre-payment deals such as monthly or yearly charges if it is an ongoing medication as this could save money. Also check that any medication you are prescribed isn’t available for cheaper over the counter.
10. Don’t put yourself at unnecessary risk
Increased alcohol consumption can inhibit the effectiveness and increase the side effects of medication so whilst it’s important to have fun don’t put your health at risk. Particularly during fresher’s week, monitor your alcohol intake and by aware of any unusual effects such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, headaches or a loss of coordination.