September 22, 2013
Princeton University Giving Out Plastic Cups To Help Prevent Meningitis
[ Watch the Video: Princeton To Fight Meningitis By Handing Out Red Cups ]
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Following an outbreak of bacterial meningitis on campus last spring, Princeton University is distributing 5,000 plastic cups to help convince students to not share drinks with one another.
According to the Associated Press (AP), the New Jersey-based institution is providing students with 5,000 red cups that contain the message “Mine. Not Yours.” In addition, the cups will include markings for the standard size for beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages, and the phone number of the university’s department of public safety, the wire service added.
The cups, which were rolled out at the start of the school year, are the brainchild of health instructor Kathy Wagner and the Ivy League school’s Student Health Advisory Board, said Jon Offredo of the Times of Trenton. After the beverage containers are distributed, students are being encouraged to write their names on them, in an attempt to make sure that no one else uses them.
“After seeing similar cups in use at other institutions with standard drink sizes marked on them, in order to promote safe drinking among students who choose to drink, and knowing that one of the ways meningitis type B is spread is through sharing drinks, I thought it would be great if we could provide Princeton students with similar cups and also include a message reminding students not to share drinks,” she told Offredo via e-mail.
“We have been reminding students of ways in which they can help prevent the spread of meningitis, and the best way to stay safe is to not share anything that comes in contact with the mouth, including cups,” Wagner added. WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reports that the cups will be available for students to pick up at various locations throughout the campus.
The initiative is in response to five cases of meningitis that were reported between March and June of last year, according to Offredo. All five patients have since recovered, but in May, the New Jersey Department of Health declared an outbreak of the disease on campus. Three cases involved students living in campus dorms, prompting Princeton officials to send out an email reminder about taking precautions to help limit the spread of the disease.
Meningitis is often mistaken for the flu, as both conditions have similar symptoms, including headache, fever, vomiting, rashes and light sensitivity. While most patients recover, the disease can cause brain damage, hearing loss, and other complications. It can be transmitted through kissing, coughing or prolonged contact.
“To avoid spreading meningitis, people should practice healthy habits such as covering their mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing; cleaning their hands regularly; not sharing utensils, water bottles and other items contaminated by saliva or respiratory secretions; and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake,” officials from the state health department told Offredo.