It’s your first term at uni and there will be hundreds of students to get to know, freshers week to get involved in, sports teams to join and a Students Union bar to familiarise yourself with. Your health probably isn’t top of the list.
However, you may be surprised to learn, as a fresher you’re part of an ‘at risk’ group of contracting meningitis. We aren’t here to lecture you but knowing a little more about meningitis could save your life.
We have some tips to help you protect yourself against meningitis while at uni.
There are certain bacteria that teenagers and students are at more risk from – they are known as meningococcal (Men) A, B, C, W and Y. These bacteria can cause meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) which can kill in just hours. Many of those that survive are left with life-changing after-effects.
Due to an increase in Men W in recent years, the Men ACWY vaccination has been introduced for all 17-18 year olds and first year university students aged 19-25 to offer protection against this strain.
Look after your health and head down to your local GP for your ACWY vaccination as soon as possible.
Although this vaccine protects against some types of meningitis, there is no vaccine available which protects against all types. So how can you protect yourself?
Our advice is to be aware of meningitis and its signs and symptoms – less than a quarter of students we surveyed knew what they should be looking for.
Symptoms aren’t always easy to identify - they can easily be taken for hangovers or flu, especially at the start of term when freshers flu is everywhere you look!
If a friend is feeling unwell, check on them regularly, and ask them to do the same for you. Watch each other’s back – if you suspect meningitis call for medical help as quickly as possible.
Student survival kit
We have a number of resources available for you to order and download, including our student signs and symptoms cards, and awareness posters. Order yours here.
Check out our social media channels for up-to-date information and for advice on meningitis:
Want to do more to raise awareness of meningitis at your university? We have lots of volunteering opportunities and different ways you can help us spread the word – email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get involved.