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Studying in Amsterdam and your health

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So you’re going to be studying in Amsterdam. Exciting times! You’ll not only learn a lot, but you’ll also make lots of new friends. As a student, your social life can be quite intense. That’s why it’s important to keep a close eye on your health. This page explains what kind of health issues GGD Amsterdam can help you with.

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STIs and sexuality

Consultation hour for young people under 25 (Sense)

Are you under 25 and do you have questions about intimacy, relationships and safe sex? Or are you afraid that you might have an STI? You can visit GGD Amsterdam’s Centre for Sexual Health free of charge and anonymously. We offer special consultation hours for young people, both face to face and online.

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STI tests

STI stands for ‘sexually transmitted infection’. STIs include all venereal diseases that you can contract through sex. Most STIs are contracted through unprotected sex. You can have an STI and transmit it without having any symptoms yourself. So if you think you might have an STI, it’s important that you get tested. You can do this at your GP or (in some cases) at GGD Amsterdam.

Help after experiencing sexual abuse

Have you had a bad sexual experience? The Centre for Sexual Violence is available day and night to help anyone who has recently experienced sexual abuse. You can call us 24 hours a day, free of charge, on 0800 0188.

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Scabies

Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by a tiny parasite, the scabies mite. The scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs. One of the most common symptoms of scabies is intense itching (especially at night) and a pimple-like skin rash. Scabies can be effectively treated with prescribed cream or tablets.

Are you a student and do you suffer from intense itching?

If so, call us on +31 (0)20 555 5337 to make an appointment for our consultation hour on Wednesday morning.

How one contracts scabies

Anyone can get infested with scabies. You can contract scabies through prolonged (15 minutes or more) skin to skin contact with someone who has scabies or by sharing clothes and/or a bed with a person with scabies. Scabies can be transmitted easily from an infected person to his or her household members and sexual partners.

Symptoms

One of the most common symptoms of scabies is intense itching, especially at night. The itching is caused by an immune response to the scabies mite. Your skin may also develop tiny burrows, blisters and red skin lesions, especially on your ankles, feet and wrists. The first time a person contracts scabies, it takes 2 to 6 weeks before the itching starts. With subsequent infections, the itching can develop after just a few days.

Treatment

Scabies does not resolve by itself. Visit your GP if you have symptoms consistent with scabies. If you are a student you can visit our GGD outpatient clinic instead. Scabies can be effectively treated with prescribed cream or tablets. Also all your roommates and close contacts need treatment at the same time as you, even if they don’t have any symptoms yet. The itching may increase temporarily after treatment whilst the body clears the infection. Scabies is no longer contagious 24 hours after successful treatment. Contact your doctor if the itching persists for longer than 6 weeks.

Steps to take at home

In addition to the usage of prescribed cream or tablets bedding, clothing and towels used by infested persons at any time during the 3 days before treatment, should be machine washed and dried using hot water and hot dryer cycles, or be dry-cleaned. Alternatively, clothing, bedding and towels could be kept in closed plastic bags for at least 3 days, if washing would not be feasible.  In these ways reinfection can be avoided. If you would not do this, you will risk reinfection, as the mite can survive for up to 72 hours away from human skin.

Further information

> Read more about scabies

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Covid

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Basic precautions

It might seem like Covid is a thing of the past. But even though we’re becoming more and more resistant against the virus, it’s still out there. That’s why it’s important that we continue to observe some basic precautions to limit the spread.

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Testing for Covid

If you have Covid symptoms, have been in contact with someone who has Covid, or have recently come back from abroad, you should do a self-test. If you test positive, you can adjust your behaviour accordingly.

Vaccination

Coronavirus vaccines are free for anyone who wants them. You can find more information about vaccination on our Covid page.

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Mental health

As a student, you meet new people, create memories and develop your identity. For many people, it’s the time of their lives. But student life can also be difficult. You might feel pressure to do well or struggle with feelings of loneliness. It’s totally normal to not feel ‘okay’.

Everyone struggles with mental health problems from time to time. Talking about your feelings to people you’re close with usually helps. Need extra help? Here are some options:

  • UpTalk offers free coaching from mental health professionals, who can give you tips and advice.
  • Frisse gedachtes (Fresh Thoughts) is a student movement that wants to improve student welfare. On their website, you can chat anonymously with psychology students and other people who have dealt with mental health problems, or get paired up with one of your fellow students for a face-to-face chat. Frisse Gedachtes also organises events.
  • Every student association and educational institution in Amsterdam has a confidential adviser you can talk to.
  • If your symptoms keep getting worse, you can always make an appointment with your GP.

Thrive Amsterdam Mentaal Gezond

Thrive works together with Amsterdam-based organisations on building mental resilience and improving mental health in Amsterdam. Together with the Amsterdam Chamber of Associations and Unitas, for instance, Thrive recently organised a Mental Health Café for students. Do you have an idea for an event or project in Amsterdam? Send Thrive an email at thriveamsterdam@ggd.amsterdam.nll or visit thriveamsterdam.nl.

Mental Health Talks


As a political science student at the University of Amsterdam, Noor went through a stressful period. She struggled to combine working on her thesis with serving on the board of her student association. In this video, Noor talks about this difficult time. She also explains why she’s proud of herself.