Preston is the worst place in UK for exposure to fresher's flu as UCLan undergrads make up 12% of population

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Two Lancashire universities have been named in a new study looking at university cities which are the least prepared to combat fresher’s flu this September.

‘Fresher’s flu’ refers to the phenomenon of undergraduate students contracting a cold or full-blown flu during the first few weeks at university and is thought to be caused by large numbers of people from different areas suddenly mingling in close proximity.   

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And according to new findings from supplement experts at Vegetology, some cities are better at dealing with the illness than others, reducing disruption at the start of the semester. 

Each city analysed was assigned a score out of 10 based on various metrics, including the amount local universities spend on health facilities per student, medical centre ratings, the availability of university-partnered or owned GPs, and average influenza vaccination uptake.  

The ranking also considered the likelihood of exposure - based on what proportion of the local population are undergraduates - and fresher’s flu prevalence, determined by the volume of Google searches for flu remedies and symptoms throughout September.  

And it turns out that Derby is the worst place to contract the illness this year, as it scored the poorest overall at 2.1 out of 10 - two-thirds (67%) behind the top-performing city’s score.  

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Despite faring well for the likelihood of exposure with the undergraduate student population equating to just 6% of the local population, the city came out as the worst for flu prevalence, reporting the highest volume of illness-related searches per capita (155).  

This implies that the illness spreads quickly among the undergraduate population, which makes sense given the city’s influenza vaccination rate averaged just 27% last year.    

When students do fall unwell, they may struggle to shift the illness due to a lack of medical intervention, as Derby University invests the least into student health per head (£362). According to GP reviews and ratings, the uni’s health centre is also among the worst.  

Following behind Derby as the second-worst spot to deal with fresher’s flu is Peterborough, which scored 3 out of 10. The city was let down by its low vaccination rate (25%), Anglia Ruskin University’s poorly rated medical centre, and a higher likelihood of exposure. 

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Rounding out the bottom three cities was Preston, which came out as the worst place overall for exposure risk, with undergraduates at UCLan equating to over 12% of the local population.  

 The top ten worst cities to get Fresher’s Flu in ranked:

1. Derby

2. Peterborough

3. Preston

4. Lancaster

5. Cardiff

6. Bradford

7. Brighton

8. Oxford

9. Coventry

10. Plymouth

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