There is nothing more annoying than becoming unwell in the first few weeks of university.

Being stuck in bed as your body tries to recover as fast as it can means you miss out on one of the biggest socialising weeks of term.

Freshers' week in the UK is when students gather and get to know one another through attending university events, signing up to clubs and many nights out.

But one of the illnesses that could have struck you down only days after moving away from home could be freshers' flu but what is it and what are the symptoms?

@christina.aaliyah Replying to @kaela How to avoid FRESHERS FLU #FYP #uni #university #freshers #fresheradvice #freshers2023 #fresher #uniadvice #universitytips #collegeadvice #collegetips #freshersflu #freshersfluisreal ♬ Strangers - Kenya Grace

What is freshers' flu?

Although freshers' flu isn’t an official illness, it has claimed its name because a significant amount of students catch it at the beginning of the academic year, when lots of germs are floating around amongst new groups of people for the first time.

The strains of the illness can range from a nasty cold to more severe flu-like symptoms and coincide with the start of the annual flu season.

There are many factors that can cause it such as mingling, lack of sleep, eating “junk” food, alcohol and stress, reports Save the Student.

What are the symptoms of freshers' flu?

As your immune system tries to power through, some symptoms of freshers' flu include shivering, a dry cough, fever, sneezing, headaches and grogginess.

Bournemouth Echo: It's important to know freshers' flu can have similar symptoms to meningitisIt's important to know freshers' flu can have similar symptoms to meningitis (Image: Getty)

Drinking plenty of water, eating a balanced diet, taking the recommended dose of paracetamol and getting plenty of rest are just some of the best remedies to help your body get better.

How to know if freshers' flu is different from meningitis

Symptoms of freshers' flu can be similar to meningitis, an infection where the linings that surround the brain and spinal cord swell up, reports the British Red Cross.

The website explains: “These include a runny nose, headaches and a high temperature. But as well as the sniffles, there are some more serious symptoms to look out for that point to meningitis.”

It adds: “As well as flu-like symptoms, signs of meningitis include a high temperature, severe headache, being sensitive to light and neck stiffness (not being able to touch your chin to your chest). Other symptoms include cold hands and feet, pale or blotchy skin, joint pain, drowsiness and vomiting.

“There could also be a rash, but there might not be. Rashes usually appear in the later stages of meningitis and sometimes do not appear at all.”

The British Red Cross urges if you or someone you know is showing signs of meningitis, don't wait for a rash to appear, call 999 immediately.