University students can be more vulnerable to infections because they live together in close social contact in halls of residence or communal housing. Students often come together from all over the world to live in one place, and so can be exposed to bacteria and viruses they have not come across before.
We've described some infections that are common amongst students here.
Colds and flu (influenza)
Outbreaks of flu tend to peak during the autumn and winter.
The symptoms are extremely high fever, aches and pains in the joints, headaches, loss of appetite and general weakness necessitating enforced bed rest. Many people think they have flu when they either have a bad cold or a flu-like illness which are characterised by only a low grade fever and the ability to carry on with every day life.
If you catch the flu, the general treatment is plenty of fluids and rest. You can also take painkillers such as paracetemol to help manage the symptoms.
The flu vaccine
We offer registered patients with certain underlying medical conditions (like asthma or diabetes) an influence vaccine in mid to late October. The vaccine protects against the flu virus but doesn't prevent other colds or sore throats and so on. We don't recommend the flu vaccine for otherwise healthy people.
Meningitis and septicaemia
Meningitis and associated septicaemia are rare, but are very serious conditions that you need to take action about straight away. Possible symptoms of meningitis are:
- A rash - tiny spots or bruising under the skin, which does not fade when pressed under a glass
- High temperature / fever
- Cold hands / feet
- Violent or severe headache
- Stiff neck
- A dislike of bright lights
- Drowsiness / difficult to wake
- Severe muscle pain
- Convulsions / seizures
If you think either you or a friend has meningitis contact the GP Surgery or NHS Advice (111) immediately.