A Student’s Meningitis Story


Meningitis in Students – what you need to know. Over 12% of all cases of meningitis occur in the 14 — 24 age group, with first year university students being at particular risk. Tom’s story proves how quickly meningitis can strike, how important it is to know the signs and symptoms and what emergency action to take.

Meningitis can strike quickly and kill within hours. Make sure you know the signs and symptoms and seek urgent medical help if concerned.

Meningitis facts for young people –
One in four 15 – 19 year olds carry meningococcal bacteria that can cause meningitis in the back of their throats, compared to one in ten of the UK population.
You can be a carrier without becoming ill and in most cases it will help boost your natural immunity. In an age group where more people are carrying the bacteria, there will be more disease.
Meningococcal bacteria are passed from person to person by coughing, sneezing and intimate kissing. Increased social interaction in this age group means that the bacteria can be passed on more easily.

Why are first year university students at risk?
Students can be more vulnerable to meningitis because of living in cramped housing, or halls of residence. 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 ‘fresher’s flu’.
As the early symptoms of meningitis can disguise themselves as other things, such as common illnesses like flu, or maybe a hangover, it’s easy to mistake meningitis for something else.
When students go off to university, it is often the first time they are living away from their parents and, more often than not, their own health and wellbeing is not a priority. With no parents to keep an eye on their health, meningitis can get missed.

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