Make sure you're protected against meningitis, measles and mumps - it's crucial that you get your vaccinations so that you can stay healthy and make the most of your time at BU.
Not only do these illnesses have the potential to ruin your learning experience, but in certain cases they can be life-threatening. Fortunately, you can easily protect yourself by booking a short appointment with your GP.
Which vaccines do you need?
There are two vaccines that you should make sure you have. The first is known as MenACWY and will protect you against meningitis and septicaemia (meningococcal disease), which can be fatal. The vaccine is administered through one injection to the upper arm and is free to all students under the age of 25.
You should also confirm whether you have had your full dose of MMR which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Most are given this vaccination at two stages in their early childhood, first as a one-year-old and again at the age of three. However, in some cases people may be missing one or both doses and so if you are unsure you should check with your GP as a matter of urgency.
Check for symptoms
Early symptoms of meningitis or septicaemia sometimes feel similar to a bad hangover, for example headaches, tiredness and aversion to bright lights, which can lead to the illness going untreated among some students until it escalates further. Later symptoms include a blotchy rash, fever with cold hands and feet, aching muscles and joints, as well as severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Download the meningitis and septicaemia symptoms card for your reference.
Measles begins with cold-like symptoms followed by a temperature and blotchy rash on the body, while mumps is recognised by painful swellings on the side of the face that can spread to the ovaries or testes. Check the NHS measles leaflet for further advice and the NHS website for information about mumps.
You’ve worked hard to get into university. Don’t let an avoidable illness get in the way of your continued progress.
Contact a doctor
The Student Medical Centre on our Talbot Campus is not currently open, but you can contact local GPs including Talbot Medical Centre and Northbourne Surgery who can also offer help and advice. If you would prefer a Medical Centre closer to home, you can view the full list of local GP surgeries on the NHS website. You can also check our contagious diseases page for more information.
Don’t assume it’s Covid
It is vital that you learn to recognise the signs and symptoms of meningitis to differentiate it from Covid-19 and other illnesses. If you feel unwell, call your GP or NHS 111 straight away if you are unsure. Meningitis is a medical emergency, so it is vital you act fast.