Students in York have reacted with disbelief to the news that a resident of Langwith in Heslington East has contracted scurvy.
The first year student has since recovered from the disease, which is believed to be mostly eradicated in adults, although it achieved notoriety for afflicting pirates and sailors mostly due to their lack of access to Vitamin Sea during long voyages.
The question of why students are getting scurvy continues to baffle those right across campus. According to one close friend of the afflicted boy, it is less a case of because they “arrrr” prone to illness, but more a serious highlighting of problems with students’ diets and the provisions the University makes for them.
He told Vision: “I’m not remotely surprised at this scurvy incident when Heslington East are denied access to basic fruit and vegetable supplies on their campus. It’s a genuine concern that personal friends have developed an illness I barely believed still existed.”
A former Heslington West resident also commented: “I’ve survived three years on chicken, potatoes, beer, vodka, salt and vinegar crisps and Courtyard burgers. So anyone who manages to get scurvy is, quite frankly, an idiot.”
Vanbrugh Chair Joshua Treacy added, “I can guarantee that we wouldn’t have had these problems five years ago under the pirate YUSU president, Mad Cap’n Tom Scott. I doubt Kallum Taylor has any nautical experience and is therefore entirely innocent to the dangers of a lack of limes.”
Scurvy initially presents itself as symptoms of sickness and weariness, followed by the development of spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding. Vitamin C is vital for the body as it needs it to make a substance called collagen, says the National Health Service. Collagen is a type of protein found in many different types of tissue, such as skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage.
The body needs to regularly produce collagen but, without vitamin C, muscle and joint pains begin to occur, as well as tiredness, the appearance of red dots on the skin and bleeding and swelling of the gums, which can ultimately lead to teeth falling out. Spots are most abundant on the thighs and legs, and a person with the ailment looks pale, feels depressed, and is partially immobilized. As scurvy advances, there can be open wounds, loss of teeth, fever, neuropathy and even death.
YUSU President Kallum Taylor told Vision: “I must admit I was pretty surprised to hear about this. All I can do is reiterate that we encourage our students to try and keep some form of respectable diet to ensure their own physical well being.
“We’ll be tying in a healthy eating push with next exam de-stress events next term, which [welfare officer] Bob Hughes has been planning with college reps already.”
Anyone wishing to receive advice on the matter should speak to those at the University’s health centre: it is thought they will operate on a first come, first scurved basis.