Exam Stress Tips

General Health

Safe Guide to help Students Minimise Symptoms of Minor Ailments

Some minor ailments which can affect students when preparing for exams include headaches, hay fever, stomach upsets and asthma. The symptoms of these minor ailments are easily avoided and the IPU has created a guide to help students manage their symptoms. 

Stay Healthy

Eat regular, well-balanced, healthy meals. If necessary, supplement your diet with a multi-vitamin to prevent getting run down.


Tension headaches can occur. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, study in a well-ventilated room and take regular breaks, particularly students who wear glasses or contact lenses so as not to strain their eyes. Consult pharmacists before taking any medication for headaches.


Make sure to drink lots of fluids throughout the day and during the exams. Avoid too much coffee or stimulant drinks.

Cold Sores

Apply a preventative cream as soon as possible and reapply the cream regularly. Wash your hands before and after applying the cream to avoid the cold sore spreading. Protect your lips with high factor lip balm.

Stomach upsets

If the problem persists, your pharmacist can recommend an over-the-counter medicine. If constipated, drink plenty of water and eat fruit and high fibre foods. For diarrhoea, drink plenty of water and keep hydrated. Ask your pharmacist for a remedy to help to replenish vital vitamins and minerals if diarrhoea is severe.

Hay Fever

Hay fever sufferers should keep doors and windows closed in mid- morning and early evening when pollen levels peak. Avoid studying outside. If taking antihistamines make sure to take tablets that do not cause drowsiness.


Be extra vigilant in using inhalers correctly during exam time. Ask your pharmacist for advice on improving your inhaler technique. Make sure to have an ample supply of inhalers and bring one with you at all times so it can be used during the exam if required.


Keep your skin well moisturised with the cream prescribed by your doctor. Wear loose-fitting clothes that won’t aggravate the condition and cause the skin to itch or flare up further.


Avoid products containing caffeine. Take some light exercise during the day or a bath or shower in order to relax before bedtime. Don’t study in bed as the brain will become over-stimulated. Set aside a period for relaxing during the study schedule.

Muscular and Joint Discomfort

When revising, it is important to have a chair that provides good back support. Avoid crossing legs or slouching over a desk. Take frequent breaks when studying, walk around for a few moments or perform some light stretches.

For further advice, Ask Your Local Family Pharmacist First