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What new Uni students need to know about sexual health, flu and travel vaccinations

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Pharmacists are there to help in Fresher's Week - and beyond.

Students can benefit from health advice and tips

Whether you're dropping them at a halls of residence in a fully-loaded car or waving them off at the coach station, seeing your children go to University is a proud moment for parents.

But it can be difficult too.

Throughout their time at school they have relied on you to help them take care of their health.

Now, they are off to live independently, perhaps hundreds of miles from home.

And for the first time you may not be there to make sure they are eating properly and keeping themselves healthy.

There are other worries for parents too, such as the dangers of meningitis and, while it might be awkward to talk about, whether they'll be taking good care of their sexual health.

Seeing your child going to uni is an emotional time

Thankfully, with guidance available from a local pharmacist, such as at Boots, it's quick and convenient for your child to get health advice when they fly the nest. Ensure your child knows that they can speak to a Boots pharmacist about their health anytime while they are away.

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There are pharmacists at the heart of the every community. These healthcare professionals are only hand to help students living away from home for the first time deal with most of their everyday health concerns.

They don't need an appointment, they can simply pop into their local Boots Pharmacy store, where they'll find a pharmacist and their team happy to answer their health questions.

And with private consultation rooms in most stores, they can get the help and advice they need away from other customers on the shop floor.

It's important for students to be aware of the help available to them

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There are plenty of concerns for parents when children go to university, from how they'll manage their finances to whether they'll make new friends.

But quick and convenient help and advice from pharmacists on the high street should help make taking care of their health one less thing to worry about. Below are four key areas to consider...

Sexual Health and HPV

Just pop into your local branch

University is an exciting time of self-discovery and new relationships, so it's important that new students have all the information they need to take care of their sexual health.

A Boots pharmacist is ready to answer questions on sexual health and contraception.

Boots also offer a vaccination service for young people which helps protect against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which can sometimes cause cancer and, more commonly, genital warts.

Getting vaccinated against HPV before becoming sexually active is the best protection against the virus. HPV vaccination is routinely offers to secondary school age girls to protect against cervical cancer, as part of the NHS Childhood Vaccination Programme. The Boots HPV Vaccination Service is suitable for males and females aged 12 to 44, available in selected stores and subject to eligibility criteria. Charges apply. See boots.com/hpv to find out more.

Meningitis

Boots offers a meningitis B vaccination service for young adults

University students are particularly vunerable to bacterial meningitis and can easily mistake early symptoms as 'fresher's flu', according to Meningitis Now.

The serious infection, which causes the lining around the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed, can spread from person to person by prolonged close contact - such as coughing, kissing and sneezing - with a person carrying the bacteria.

Boots offers a Meningitis B Vaccination Service for those up to 21 years of age in selected stores.*

Signs to look out for include severe headaches, a dislike of bright lights, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, and a rash which usually looks like small, red pinpricks and doesn't fade when pressed with a glass. Visit boots.com/menb

*Eligibility criteria apply, subject to stock and pharmacist availability. Charges apply.

Text Service

Get prescription reminders direct to your phone so you don't forget

For students who take regular medication, Boots offers peace of mind with a text messaging service.

Great for busy students, the pharmacy will text you to remind you that you might need to order your repeat medication and when your next prescription is ready to collect. The pharmacy will even send reminder texts if you forget to collect it, so it's ideal for students.

To sign up for the free text messaging service, simply visit your local Boots Pharmacy.

Flu and Travel Vaccinations

Boots offers a range of vaccinations

Most flu outbreaks happen in the winter months***, so for university students looking to protect themselves, Boots offer a Winter Flu Jab Service.

For students who might be travelling as part of their course or taking a gap year, selected Boots Pharmacy stores also offer a Malaria Prevention Service* and the Boots Travel Vaccinations and Health Advice Service**

Visit boots.com/flu for more information on the Winter Flu Jab Service or boots.com/travelhealth for information on travel vaccinations.

*Subject to pharmacist and stock availability. Eligibility criteria and charges apply.

** Available in selected stores only, suitable for ages five and over. Subject to specially-trained pharmacist and stock availability. Eligibility criteria apply.

*** http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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