Let’s keep young people safe from meningitis

Meningitis can be fatal

If you are a university or college student, you have an increased risk of developing meningitis.

Being in confined environments with close contacts such as halls of residence, hostels when travelling, or at parties this festive season, increase your chances of infection if you do not have your up-to-date vaccines.

Especially in the wintertime, low immunity levels and a lack of exposure to infections during the pandemic has left young people vulnerable to meningitis.

Don't dismiss the signs

Student Ashleigh, was admitted to hospital with life-threatening meningitis after initially dismissing her symptoms as harmless.

"I thought I was probably getting a cold… The next day I woke up, still with a headache, and assumed I was just hungover. I phoned my mum to tell her I didn't feel well and was going to sleep for a bit, but I was crying and she knew something wasn't right… My family was told there was a one in three chance that I would wake up blind, deaf or brain damaged."

Meningitis can develop suddenly and can kill or leave people with life changing disabilities and health problems.

Recognise the symptoms

Often confused with a flu, a hangover, or COVID-19, students are particularly at risk of missing the early warning signs of meningitis.

Symptoms include:

  • a blotchy rash that doesn't fade when a glass is rolled over it
  • fever
  • aching muscles and joints
  • stiff neck
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • high temperature
  • cold hands and feet
  • drowsiness

Take action

Check your vaccination status with your GP and familiarise yourself with the symptoms of meningitis.

The meningitis vaccine is currently offered to all year 9 or 10 pupils at school. Anyone born on or after 1 September 1996 who missed their meningitis vaccine can still have it up to their 25th birthday via their GP or university health centre.

Visit the NHS Meningitis web page to find out more about meningitis.

Visit the NHS Meningitis MenACWY web page for more information about the vaccine that is available to teenagers and young adults.

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