However, it may come as a surprise to know that first year university students are in fact part of an ‘at risk’ group.
Although meningitis can affect anyone at any time, there are certain bacteria that increase the risk of meningitis in teenagers and students. These are meningococcal A, B, C, W and Y and they can cause meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) which can kill within hours. For those who survive, many are left with life-changing after-effects such as hearing loss, brain damage and limb loss.
Cases of Men W have significantly increased in recent years and teenagers and young people are particularly vulnerable. The simple fact that you will be one of hundreds, if not thousands, of people coming together to live in close proximity to share your student experiences adds to your vulnerability.
An ACWY vaccination has been introduced to offer protection against this form of meningitis.
Looking after yourself and others
Look after your health by heading to your local GP for your free ACWY vaccine and familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms. Please be aware if you live outside Scotland but are attending University in Scotland, ensure you get the Men ACWY vaccine before you go. You will not automatically be able to get it from the GP surgery when you get there.
Identifying meningitis is not always easy. Early symptoms can be missed or mistaken for something else, including flu or hangovers - especially at the start of term when so many students are suffering from ‘fresher’s’ flu’.
Look out for each other – if a friend is unwell, check up on them regularly. Someone with meningitis or septicaemia can get a lot worse very quickly.
Fight for Now
Visit Fight for Now - a fresh and sophisticated site aimed at 16-25 year olds. All the content has been written by young people, for young people.
We wanted to create an experience that’s relevant, innovative, easy to use and more interactive but retains all the same life-saving information and support as Meningitis Now.
Our Young Ambassadors have played a key role in the creation of this site and will continue to act as a voice for young people across the platform.
We have some great awareness materials; a selection of beer mats and other items, find them here.