With State exams under way, managing exam stress to prevent it having a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of exam students, is key at this time of year, with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) offering advice on how best to cope.

“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,” said Caitriona O’Riordan, a member of IPU Executive Committee.

With over 115,000 students sitting either the Junior or Leaving Certificate, some exam stress minor ailments advice from pharmacists include:

  • 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.