Medical issues and conditions

Although University is a time for new experiences and social activities, it's also a time to take responsibilty for your health by creating the right balance between work, study and lifestyle. Both the University and your local health centre will support you during your time at Keele. 

Meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia (blood poisoning) are serious diseases that can strike rapidly with little warning and if left untreated can be fatal. Outbreaks of meningitis tend to occur where people live or work closely together, such as university, living in halls of residence, living in shared student accommodation.

What you can do

Emergency contacts

If you think that you or someone else may have meningitis:

Describe the symptoms carefully and say that you think it could be meningitis.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and can sometimes lead to pneumonia and encephalitis. Around 10% of measles cases require hospital admission.

Signs and Symptoms of measles

The first symptoms of measles include:

  • a high temperature
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • a cough
  • red, sore, watery eyes

A few days after this the symptoms may progress.

  • small white spots may appear inside the cheeks and the back of the lips, not all people with measles will get this symptom.
  • The measles rash often starts on the face, particularly behind the ears before spreading to the rest of the body.
  • The spots can be reddish brown, they are often raised and may join together to make blotchy patches.
  • This rash is not always itchy. 

What you can do

  • Check out the University's Procedure for Dealing with Communicable Diseases.
  • Make sure you have received the MMR vaccination from your own GP before starting University or, if this is not possible, from the Keele Health Centre (or your local GP)  as soon as you arrive.
  • If you are not sure if you have received the MMR vaccine contact your GP to check.
  • Make sure you are registered with the Keele Health Centre or another local GP
  • Know who to contact in an emergency

Emergency contacts

If you think that you or someone else may have measles:

Describe the symptoms carefully and say that you think it could be measles. Always call ahead before attending a medical facility to ensure that they are prepared for your arrival. 

Make and urgent GP appointment or contact NHS 111

  • you think you may have measles
  • you've been in close contact with someone who has measles and you've not had measles before or you've not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine
  • you've been in close contact with someone who has measles and you're pregnant – measles can be serious in pregnancy
  • you have a weakened immune system and think you have measles or have been in close contact with someone with measles



Mumps is a viral infection of the parotid salivary glands. It’s most recognisable by the painful swellings at the side of the face under the ears (the parotid glands), giving a person with mumps a distinctive "hamster face" appearance.

Mumps is normally a mild illness, but in a minority of cases there can be severe complications, such as deafness and meningitis.

If you develop symptoms of mumps you should make an appointment to see a doctor.

A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. Pandemic flu occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity and for which there is no vaccine.

In contrast to the ‘ordinary’ or ‘seasonal’ flu outbreaks which we see every winter in the U.K., flu pandemics occur infrequently – usually every few decades.

In the event of a pandemic, students and staff will be provided with advice/guidance as dictated by the situation (this may change on a daily/hourly basis). The University will be informed accordingly by the Government and local NHS organisations.

For more information on COVD-19 pandemic and how we can support you, please visit our dedicated pages here.

Freshers' Week opens up the opportunity to join new clubs, make new friends, experience a variety of nights out and get started into university life. However, the social whirlwind that Freshers' Week creates can be pretty rough on your health. 

Freshers' Flu is the name commonly given to a range of symptoms experienced by many new students during the first few weeks at university. This usually includes a raised temperature, sore throat, severe headache, coughing and general discomfort. 

To avoid Freshers' Flu remember to:

  • Be vigilant with hand washing to avoid spreading any infection
  • Use tissues if required, especially when sneezing
  • Do not share drinking cups, bottles or cutlery unless washed in between use
  • Do not share towels
  • Eat well (It may be tempting to live off takeaways but it's important to get your 5 a day!)
  • Do not exceed recommended safe alcohol limits (14 units is the recommended MAXIMUM amount for females per week. 21 units is the recommended MAXIMUM amount for males per week.)
  • Maintain a regular sleep pattern (Everyone needs their beauty sleep)
  • Have some form of physical activity