Illness

Freshers' Flu

Freshers' flu is a phenomenon caused by lots of students from all over the world bringing all their regional germs to Pembroke and sharing them amongst people who haven't built up an immunity to them. The resulting variety of coughs, colds and other flu-like symptoms is "freshers' flu". It is not confined to freshers, students in other years often get ill during October for similar reasons. As with a cold, the best defence is plenty of sleep, water, vitamins (fruit), lemsip and other sensible behaviour.

Meningitis

Meningitis can be a killer but it doesn't have to be. Make sure you've been immunised (protecting you against types A and C), and BE AWARE of the symptoms so you can get help for yourself or others quickly.

Symptoms can be misinterpreted as a hangover or flu. They include: 

  • severe headache 
  • high temperature/fever 
  • dislike of bright lights 
  • painful joints 
  • being violently sick 
  • a stiff neck 
  • feeling drowsy or lethargic 
  • rapid deteriation of health 
  • rash of red/purple spots (septicaemia) spread to look like fresh bruising, don't disappear on pressure

Not all need to be present at early stages, don't wait for a rash to appear before getting help

WHAT TO DO if you suspect you or a friend may have meningitis:

  • Seek medical advice from doctor or college nurse explaining why you're concerned and giving symptoms
  • Be prepared to insist and ask if it could be meningitis 
  • If a GP is unavailable go straight to Addenbrooke's A&E 
  • If someone is ill and getting worse, even if they've already had medical attention, seek consultation again.

For more information see the National Meningitis Trust website and University Meningitis Information

Cervical Smears

Cervical smears allow the removal of a sample of cells from your cervix which can be checked out by doctors to see if there are any signs of pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. This allows rapid treatment of any problems preventing cervical cancer before it can take hold.

They are:

  • Done from age 20 upwards
  • Repeated every 3-5 years
  • Advised if you have had 1 or more sexual partners

Smears are quick, easy, and not painful (most women experience slight discomfort) and are important as they can prevent cervical cancer becoming a killer. You can get them done at your doctors or at Clinic 1A.

Testicular Cancer

  • is relatively rare, but the most common cancer to affect men aged 20-39
  • is 95% curable if caught early

Risk factors: 

  • Undescended testes - if experienced advised to get regular check-ups 
  • Family history
  • Exposure to oestrogen

Self examination: 

  • Should be done at least once a month 
  • Best in warm bath/shower as relaxes skin of scrotum 
  • Support scrotum in palm of hand- compare size and weight - any significant change could indicate problem 
  • Roll each testicle between thumb and fingers - should be smooth except epididymis lying along the top and back 
  • Check for lumps/irregular swellings/ any change in firmness. Check for differences between testicles

Other symptoms:

General feeling of heaviness in scrotum, dull ache in lower abdomen/swelling of breast area. It is unusual to feel pain in testes themselves.

If any symptoms appear, GET IT CHECKED OUT - it's best not to take any unnecessary risks hoping it'll go away. For more information see the Cancer Research website

This Website is maintained by the Pembroke JPC IT Officer.

The initial design was built by Vikash Patel.

Cover Photo Credits: Alex Łyszkowski  

Special Thanks to Chris

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