What International Student Advisors Need to Know about Mumps

Jeff CrawfordJeff Crawford | February 13, 2017

You carry a multitude of responsibilities when you advise international students. You have to solve financial issues, help with cultural adjustments, and negotiate immigration problems. But advisors may feel a new level of urgency if their students suddenly face medical issues. When someone’s health and well-being are at risk, professionals need to provide well-informed guidance. 

That’s what makes the current mumps outbreak so worrying. States such as Arizona, Illinois, New York, and Oklahoma have seen over 100 cases of this illness since the beginning of 2016. While mumps is rare and doesn’t usually cause long-term problems, university students have suffered from the disorder disproportionately. The University of Missouri alone has reported 193 cases since the beginning of the most recent semester. 

Advisors will only see more inquiries as the virus continues to spread. If you want to give your students the best service, you need to know about this outbreak and potential health insurance options. This article offers a basic primer on both issues.

International Students are at Risk

Whether you work in an affected state or not, you need to know how to deal with the mumps outbreak. Students who have attended a foreign university campus may already know about the problem and could have already taken steps to vaccinate themselves. But that doesn’t mean that the risk has been completely eliminated.

While experienced international students may understand how to seek treatment for mumps, newcomers may not know about the illness or its effects. These students are already vulnerable, so catching mumps can have devastating effects. It’s up to advisers to ensure they get the help they need.

Symptoms Can Make Mumps Feel Like the Flu

As with many illnesses, treating mumps isn’t necessarily easy. In many cases, patients simply need to eliminate unpleasant symptoms so they can rest easily, which eventually kills the virus. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to receive this advice, since mumps can present signs also exhibited by flu sufferers. 

The tell-tale sign of mumps is often swelling. If a student complains of inflammation in around their face and neck, they may be suffering from mumps. Obviously, a qualified medical doctor will need to evaluate individual cases, but advisers should still be aware of symptoms to inform international students.

College Campuses Are Infested with the Illness

As a new semester begins, it can be easy for students to lose track of their general wellness routines. Academic and social responsibilities can take priority, but international students need to be aware of the threat that mumps can pose to their well-being.

It’s important to keep this problem within proportion, but even with this in mind, the recent outbreak has been staggering. One Illinois university has featured 300 reported cases of the illness, while Arkansas has seen over 2,000 education-seeking youths affected. The only way students can prevent this problem is through vaccination, but even that isn’t a clear solution.

Vaccinations Don’t Necessarily Guarantee Immunity

Those who have passing familiarity with mumps may wonder why the illness is so prevalent when a vaccine exists. While most university health centers give patients two doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, these doses have so far proved ineffective in the face of the recent outbreak. Some campus clinics currently offer an additional dose, so those who have previously received their vaccines may want to consider going back for more.

LewerMark Insurance Covers Vaccinations

Health plans offer different coverage options, but LewerMark’s student insurance policies can accommodate the cost of mump vaccinations. If your students are seeking a plan that will allow them to get vaccinated at either a campus medical center or a local pharmacy, these plans represent an ideal option.

How to Evaluate International Student Health Insurance Options

Jeff Crawford

Jeff is vice president of The Lewer Agency’s LewerMark Student Insurance division. He is also a member of the Lewer Life Insurance Company Board of Directors. Jeff joined the Lewer Companies in 2005 as director of student insurance. Lewer is a Global Partner with NAFSA and Jeff has been a featured speaker at both regional and national conferences. He also has a BS in Marketing from Kansas State University. Jeff is an avid sports fan and has been a Chiefs season ticket holder for 30 years. He enjoys spending time at the lake in Northwest Arkansas with family and friends as much as possible. Jeff and his wife Kim have three children who have all graduated from college and are gainfully employed.

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