Student Health and Wellbeing

Our IPSA Pharmacy enables thousands of students to stay healthy from year to year as well as helping them cope with the occasional little emergency too. Constantly available to provide practical help and support, our professional and reliable IPSA Pharmacy teams are there to ensure you enjoy your university life to the fullest!

Many of us enjoy a drink or two. Statistically, 90% of UK adults use alcohol on a regular basis to help them unwind and relax. However, after a particularly messy night at the Student Union bar, sometimes a bad headache, dry throat and underlying feelings of shame are not the only consequences you may have to deal with. Alcohol abuse is no laughing matter – it is a serious issue, especially for students made vulnerable to the problem through the prevailing party culture at British universities.

How to Enjoy Alcohol Responsibly

How much is too much? Statistically it is proven that the average alcohol intake of a student per week outweighs the advisable weekly unit limits. The recommended weekly allowance for men is 21 units whilst for women it is 14. It is also indicated by studies that 10% of students often drink to levels considered by UK regulations to be dangerous.

Alcohol consumption however is unarguably an integral part of student culture. With this in mind, the best advice your IPSA Pharmacy can give is to always stay aware of how much alcohol you are consuming – always remember to count the units and know your limits. Also remember that abstaining from alcohol for just a couple of nights a week can only do you good and that binge drinking should, perhaps obviously, be avoided!

Typical values of alcohol, in units:

  • Large gin and tonic: 2 units
  • Bottle of white wine: 10 units
  • Shot of Sambuca: 1 unit
  • Pint of continental (strong) lager: 3 units
  • Alcopop: 1.5 units

Top tips for a safe and fun night out:

  • Food can soak up alcohol so always try to eat a meal before you drink.
  • Consider trying bitters and ales, which are weaker, as opposed to the stronger continental lagers.
  • Make an alcohol budget. Set your spending limit and stick to it.
  • Every now and then (or even alternately) drink a soft drink to avoid your body becoming too dehydrated.
  • Drinking in rounds often means drinking at a faster pace. Try buying your drinks individually so you can decide for yourself when you need a refill.
  • When drinking spirits try using more mixers.

Smoking: Kicking the Habit

Quitting smoking is something that most people seem to agree is well worth the effort. We understand it will require a lot of willpower and strength of character on your end – but you are not alone. At your IPSA Pharmacy, we are here to help. Advice, support and even medication are available from our team of professional pharmacists.

Repairing the damage

However, there is a silver lining … most of the damage caused by smoking can be reversed upon quitting. Study after study illustrates the length of time it can take for your body to recover from smoking and even from second-hand smoking:
24 hours after quitting:
Mucus and other smoking debris begins to clear from the lungs.
48 hours:
There is no longer any nicotine left in the body. Your ability to taste and smell vastly improves.
2–12 weeks:
Walking, running and exercise becomes easier as blood circulation improves in your body.
3–9 months:
Your lung function improves by up to 10%, so coughing, wheezing and breathing problems begin to dissipate.
1 year and onwards:
Your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a regular smoker.

Are you ready to quit?

Preparation, as opposed to making a snap decision, can often prove to be more beneficial to your likelihood of eventual smoking abstinence. Your IPSA Pharmacy branches offer a stop smoking service, which offer advice on the correct techniques for kicking the habit, innovative ways of dealing with cravings (including the offering of nicotine-replacement products) and a more extensive consultation in order to evaluate your smoking habits and form a method more suitable for you as an individual.

Glandular Fever and Meningitis

Fortunately, it is highly unlikely that you will ever have to deal with these horrible diseases; however, both are just too serious to be ignored. If symptoms are being experienced or you are afraid that you may have contracted one of these diseases, immediate medical advice should be sought at your IPSA clinic. Here are some facts you need to be aware of.


Meningitis is often a rapid-onset disease that inflames the lining of both your spinal cord and your brain. It is often caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Studies indicate that students are doubly vulnerable to meningitis than others in the 18–25 age group and that those living in the halls of residence are at the greatest risk of contracting this disease.

  • Signs and symptoms of meningitis
  • Feelings of stiffness and tension in the neck.
  • An adversity to bright lights.
  • Vomiting and an increased (high) temperature.
  • A rash resembling tiny pinpricks that later becomes purple blotches against the skin. A meningitis rash will not fade when pressed.
  • Severe headaches.

Glandular fever

Often referred to as the ‘kissing disease’; this type of fever is caused by a virus and is most commonly contracted by students and by people in their teens and twenties. The nickname exists as the disease is often passed on through saliva or occasionally through coughing and sneezing.

Glandular fever: What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Symptoms resembling the flu – fevers, headaches and sweating.
  • Swollen tonsils or a sore throat.
  • Pains in the muscles and severe fatigue.
  • Glands in the throat, groin and armpits become swollen.
  • Stomach pains.

If you are a student with any concerns about your health and wellbeing, simply visit your IPSA Pharmacy and talk in confidence with one of IPSA’s highly trained pharmacists.