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As students across the borough prepare for college and university next month, Richmond Council and local GPs are urging them to look after their health as well.

As well as advice regarding sexual health, young people are being advised to make sure their immunisations are up to date.

Nationally there has been an increase in the number of measles cases, particularly affecting people aged 16-25 years old. Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to very serious complications.

The best protection is to check with your GP that you are up to date with your immunisations. If not or you are unsure - you can arrange an MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) catch-up vaccination free on the NHS at your GP surgery.

In addition, young people are encouraged to protect themselves by having the MenACWY vaccine against four types of meningitis (bacterial infections), including the aggressive MenW.

Cllr Piers Allen, Chair of the Richmond Council Committee for Adult Social Services, Health and Housing, said:

“The start of college or uni is a really exciting time and with a few simple precautions, students can make sure that it is a time in their lives they’ll remember for all the right reasons. Sexual health is a key priority, but we are also urging students to make sure their immunisations, especially the MMR which protects against measles and MenACWY, which protects against four strains of Meningitis, are up to date.”

Dr Graham Lewis, a local GP and Chair, NHS Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group, added:

“We know that colleges and universities can be hot spots for the spread of measles and meningococcal disease. First year students especially are at increased risk of meningococcal infection if they are unvaccinated, particularly when they spend large amounts of time with new people in confined spaces such as university halls and other buildings.

As a GP, I encourage students to check with their GP that they are up to date with their MMR and MenACWY vaccinations before term starts - it’s never too late to protect yourself and your friends from these highly infections and serious diseases.”

– from a Richmond Council press release - 30 August 2019