Moving away from home for the first time to begin life as a student is a very exciting time, but as Glasgow prepares to welcome thousands of Freshers to the city, NHSGGC has some hints and tips on staying healthy and happy.
“First things first, all students new to the city should register with a GP right away,” says Linda de Caestecker, NHSGGC’s Director of Public Health. “To find out your nearest GP, please visit our website www.nhsggc.org.uk and put in your postcode. Further information will also be available from your Student Health Service.
“All first time entrants to university aged 16-25 years, who have not had the Meningitis ACWY vaccine since August 2015, either at school or their GP, also need to contact their student health team to find out about local arrangements to have this done as it’s really important in preventing this potential killer,” added Linda.
Sex is also an inevitable part of student life for many young people and it’s important that they know the services which are on hand to keep them safe.
Sandyford Central is the main service located near Glasgow’s Charing Cross. It provides Sandyford’s widest range of sexual, reproductive and emotional health services and is open each weekday, with early evening appointments available Mondays to Thursdays. There are also smaller, more local services in other parts of the city which are open at various times throughout the week, providing many of the same services.
The best way to find details of what services are provided at Sandyford is to visit the website - www.sandyford.org . Not all of services are provided in all locations, so please contact call 0141 211 8130 for advice and to make an appointment. The line is open Mondays to Fridays from 8.30am - 4.30pm, except public holidays.
Linda said: “Being away from home for the first time brings lots of changes and we want young people to make informed choices about their sexual health.
“If you do decide you want to have sex, there are several ways to keep yourself safe and healthy. Condoms protect against both STIs and pregnancy. You can protect your own and your partner's sexual health by using condoms as well as your chosen method of contraception. Getting free condoms is easy; just find the nearest venue to you at www.freecondomsglasgowandclyde.org
“We are also here if you want to speak to someone about your sexual health or access sexual health testing, Sandyford provides sexual, reproductive and emotional health care across the Glasgow and Clyde area that is supportive, non-judgemental and sensitive to your needs.”
Another health issue for students can be weight gain, often as a result of drinking more alcohol, exercising less and eating or snacking on nights out.
Linda said: “Please don’t ignore if the jeans starts to feel tight. Very simple things can help - don’t skip meals, remember to eat fruit and vegetables and bring a fruit as a snack. Start planning meals for the week - you will be amazed how much further your money will go compared to take aways! Finally, don’t forget to do some physical activity; there will be lots of clubs to join and it’s a great way to make new friends too.
“All in all, the message from NHSGGC is to enjoy student life and all that it brings, while looking after your health. When out and about this Fresher’s week and beyond, it’s really important that friends look out for one another and stick together, making sure everyone gets home safely. Never leave your drinks unattended and don’t accept drinks from strangers; they could be spiked. It’s all about having fun but staying safe at the same time.”
Please watch our short video from Sandyford: