Meningitis and you – the facts

More people contract meningitis and septicaemia than you might expect. 16 –25 year olds fall within the second highest at risk group and freshers in particular are vulnerable to the disease.

That’s why it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms – meningitis and septicaemia can strike quickly and can kill in just hours.

Fight for now
Did you know…..

  • One in four 15-19 year olds carry the meningococcal bacteria that can cause meningitis and septicaemia in their throats
  • There are five main groups of meningococcal bacteria,  Men A, B, C, W and Y
  • Not all carriers become ill – in most instances this will boost your natural immunity
  • These bacteria can be passed on through intimate kissing or by coughing and sneezing
  • Men W cases have increased – with a rise among university students
Why are uni freshers more vulnerable?

  • Every year, hundreds, if not thousands of students from around the country (or even the world) come together to start their student life, living side-by-side in halls of residence. Their social interaction increases and bodies meet bacteria they have never encountered before. Think about ‘Fresher’s Flu’ and how quickly a whole house can be affected
  • Missing the signs can be easy – we know it’s not on the top of the ‘student life’ agenda
  • Even when symptoms do get noticed, they can be easily mistaken for common illnesses like the flu or a hangover
Heading to uni?

Here are our top tips for looking after yourself and friends at uni:

  • Download our free app for signs and symptoms
  • We have symptoms cards which can be stored in your wallet – request one today 
  • Know where to go for help – register with your local GP or Health Centre
  • Watch each other’s backs – tell your friends when you’re unwell and ask them to check on you. It’s better to be safe than sorry
  • Check out our Facebook and Twitter page for news, help and information
Before you go

Here it is…. the age old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’. There are effective vaccines available so make sure you are up-to-date before you head off to uni or into the world of work.

A Men ACWY vaccine, which protects against A, C, W and Y meningococcal bacteria, is available for all 17-18 year olds (you should have been contacted by your GP) and uni entrants 19-25 (you will need to make an appointment with your GP). We advise that students get the vaccine as soon as possible – ideally two weeks before starting university.

If you don’t have it yet, don’t panic! You are still eligible for the vaccine throughout your first year of uni but we do recommend getting it as soon as possible. Act now!

Remember, the vaccine doesn’t protect against all types of meningitis so make sure you know what symptoms to look out for.

Download your signs and symptoms card

Still have questions? Call our helpline on 0808 80 10 388 – we’re here to help.

“I think it’s meningitis”

If you think you or a friend has meningitis or septicaemia, trust your instincts and get help immediately. Tell them your suspicions and explain the symptoms. 

Already had medical advice but still concerned? Be persistent, get medical help again.

Being aware of meningitis and reacting quickly could save your life.