A healthy body means a healthy mind – a well-known and very true phrase! Eating well, getting enough sleep and regular exercise all help us to learn better. Proven fact! These three things will help us to stay alert and concentrate.
We want our students to be as healthy as possible and so encourage healthy eating and exercise. We also run events and sessions to encourage students to stop smoking, for example.
The college nurse is based on three of the college sites and provides a confidential health service to students. This is a full contraception and sexual health service, including emergency contraception, pregnancy tests and advice, quit smoking support, healthy eating advice, help with relationship problems and support for students with drug and alcohol issues.
Have you had all your vaccinations?
Before you come to college, check that you have had all the vaccinations that you are entitled to: two doses of the measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination, your school leaver’s vaccination of Diphtheria Tetanus and Polio, and three doses of HPV (females only). We know that lots of students will have missed out but it is never too late to ask your GP for any missing doses.
We are particularly keen to let you know that the mumps infection is circulating widely in the community. Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection and college and university students are especially prone to catching it. The most common symptom of mumps is a swelling of the parotid glands on one side or both sides of the face. The swelling gives a person a distinctive ‘hamster face’ appearance.
How common is mumps?
Before the introduction of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in 1988, mumps was a common childhood infection responsible for 1,200 hospital admissions a year in England and Wales. After the MMR vaccine was introduced as part of the routine childhood vaccination programme, the number of mumps cases fell sharply. Fewer than 100 cases of the disease were reported in 1996. However, in recent years, there has been a significant rise in the incidence of mump amongst teenagers and young adults mostly due to people in this age group not receiving the MMR vaccination.
How is mumps spread?
The mumps virus is spread in the same way as the common cold and flu viruses. It is airborne, which means that it can survive briefly in the outside environment. It can be spread through:
- direct contact – for example, if you sneeze or cough, tiny droplets of fluid containing the mumps virus are launched into the air and can be breathed by others
- indirect contact – for example, if infected droplets are transferred to an object, such as a door handle, and someone else touches it, they may catch the mumps if they then touch their mouth or nose.
The most effective way to prevent catching mumps is to have the MMR vaccine, which is thought to be 95% effective in protecting against the mumps. People who are infected are most contagious for 1-2 days before the onset of symptoms, and for five days afterwards. During this time, it is important to prevent spreading the infection to others, particularly those at high risk of developing complications. For example, teenagers and young adults who have not been vaccinated; and pregnant women.
What happens if I catch it ?
The outlook for teenagers and adults with mumps is slightly less positive than if they had contracted it as a child, because they have a higher risk of developing complications, some of which can be serious. Complications of mumps include:
- painful swelling of the testicles (in boys and men) and of the ovaries in girls and young women
- secondary infection of the membranes of the brain (meningitis), or the brain itself (encephalitis)
- hearing loss.
As there is currently no cure for mumps, treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms and preventing the further spread of infection.
YOUR GP SURGERY CAN GIVE YOU ANY MISSING VACCINATIONS – phone them to make a vaccination appointment with the practice nurse.