As part of our Student Awareness Week (22 to 26 October) we’re calling on them to make sure they know what to look out for and what to do if they suspect the deadly disease.
Thanks to the efforts of lots of our lovely volunteers we’ll be driving home the message on campuses around the country that getting vaccinated and knowing the signs and symptoms to look out for will save lives.
At risk group
Our chief executive, Dr Tom Nutt, said, “Teenagers are the second most at-risk group of contracting meningitis after babies and toddlers – and up to a quarter of students carry the bacteria that can cause meningitis, compared to one in ten of the general population."
"Of particular concern are those who are off to uni for the first time."
Tom added, “It might be nothing. It might be meningitis. The symptoms can be easily confused with flu, a stomach bug or a hangover."
“If you or one of your friends is ill and getting worse, call NHS 111 or your GP straight away. In an emergency dial 999 or go to your nearest A&E."
“Make the call. Fast action saves lives and improves outcomes.”
University freshers can be more vulnerable to the disease because of cramped living conditions. In many cases, young people come together from all over the world to live in one place and can be exposed to bacteria and viruses their bodies have not met before. This is why so many new students get ‘freshers’ flu’.
Every university in the UK could experience one case of meningitis among its students within the first term. That’s why our volunteers will be visiting as many campuses as they can during the week to raise awareness.
First year students up to the age of 25 can obtain a free vaccination for Men ACWY from their GP, although many will already have received this whilst at school. But this does not protect them against all strains of the disease and they are unlikely to have been vaccinated against Men B, leaving them at risk from this strain of the disease.
Free information pack
We’re offering a free information pack for students, including beer mats, leaflets, signs and symptoms cards, fridge magnets and year planners – all of which contain lifesaving information. These are available free of charge here.
The early signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia can be similar to flu, tummy bug or a hangover and include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain, stomach cramps and fever with cold hands and feet. More specific signs and symptoms include fever with cold hands and feet, drowsiness, confusion, pale blotchy skin, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights and a rash which doesn’t fade under pressure.