Ahead of the State examinations, which begin this month, pharmacists are offering advice on how to manage exam stress to prevent it having a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of exam students.
Over 115,000 students will sit either the Junior or Leaving Certificate this summer. According to Caitriona O’ Riordan, a member of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) Executive Committee, “Stressed and tired exam students can experience stomach upsets, diarrhoea, cold sores and tension headaches. Students with conditions such as asthma, sinusitis and allergic reactions can find those aggravated at exam time.
“The last thing any student or parent wants is for a bout of ill-health to affect last-minute revision or exam performance and pharmacists are frequently asked for advice from concerned parents on how to help their children to mind their health at exam time. It is hard to avoid stress altogether but if any student or their parent is concerned about a stress-related minor ailment during exam time, they can ask their pharmacist for advice,” said Ms O’ Riordan.
Exam Stress Minor Ailments Advice from Pharmacists
Promote good health: Eat regular, well-balanced, healthy meals and get sufficient sleep. Consider taking multivitamins.
Headache: Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Study in a well-ventilated room and take regular breaks.
Stomach upsets: Try to eat well. Eat small amounts regularly and avoid junk and spicy foods.
Eczema: Keep the skin well moisturised with ointments and lotions. Avoid products with a high alcohol content as these can irritate sensitive skin.
Asthma: Use inhalers as advised by your doctor or pharmacist. Preventative inhalers should be used regularly. Carry an inhaler with you at all times so that it can be used during an exam, if required.
Hay Fever: If you suffer with hay fever, keep doors and windows closed when studying and avoid going outdoors when the pollen count is at its highest. Students who need to take antihistamines should make sure to take tablets that don’t cause drowsiness.
Insomnia: Make sure to get enough sleep. Avoid products containing caffeine. Take some light exercise or a bath or shower in order to relax before bedtime. Don’t study in bed as the brain will become over-stimulated.