With a national outbreak of meningitis and the recent presence of chickenpox on campus, the Student Health Center has been on high alert.
In the days leading up to Thanksgiving break, a student’s chickenpox was diagnosed, but has fully recovered, said the staff of the student health center. According to school policy, students are recommended, but not required to receive a chickenpox vaccination.
In response to presence of the illness, the health center staff has been releasing information via SpiderBytes to ensure that students are aware of their immunity status. Students who have either previously had the illness or have received two doses of vaccine are considered immune, according to information released by the health center.
Chickenpox is not the only illness students should be concerned about. With flu season approaching, the health center has been emphasizing the importance of maintaining a healthy immune system. Living in a big group of people, drinking and not getting enough sleep strains your immune system, said Sarah Fisher, nurse supervisor at the health center.
While the University of Richmond has been spared from the recent outbreak of meningitis, two people in Virginia have died from the illness in the past two months. Virginia law requires all college students to either receive the vaccine or sign a waver stating that they are choosing not to be vaccinated. Receiving this vaccination, however, does not guarantee immunization, Fisher said.
“It’s not perfect,” Fisher said. “The vaccine covers four of the five major strains.”
Because of this, students should not ignore symptoms, which include severe headache, a stiff neck and flu-like symptoms, even if they have been vaccinated, she said.
Students who wish to be vaccinated, feel ill or want more information can contact the health center on the first floor of the Special Programs Building.
Contact reporter Jack Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org