Meningitis

Meningitis – protect yourself against a dangerous killer

There are a few unpleasant things that are can be expected during the first few weeks at University: sleepless nights, all-nighters in the Library, living on Pot Noodles until your next loan instalment comes along and occasional hangovers. They’re not pleasant, but these things can happen from time to time.
But meningitis is an unpleasant risk of university life that you most definitely want to avoid. Unfortunately, as a student living in close proximity to thousands of other students you’re in a high risk group when it comes to contracting this killer virus.
It’s easy to place your health on the backburner when you’re busy building a new life for yourself at University. But you shouldn’t take any risks when it comes to meningitis, which is highly contagious and kills indiscriminately. The bacteria which causes meningitis is carried by around one in ten people and is passed over to others by regular close contact.
Meningitis can kill in just a few hours. Survivors of meningitis (the lucky ones) can be left with brain damage, organ damage and limb loss caused by septicaemia, scarring and loss of sight/hearing. Unvaccinated adults are just as at risk as children and babies.

Get yourself vaccinated against meningitis

Don’t leave it to chance. Make sure you’re vaccinated against meningitis.
Luckily for you, it is perfectly possible, and easier than you think, to get yourself vaccinated against meningitis. The University Medical Centre is offering students the opportunity to receive the Meningitis ACWY vaccine. Not everyone enjoys injections, but this one could save your life or someone else’s. You will need to register with the Centre in order to receive the vaccination. You can call them on 01772 892598.

The Centre also offers a wide array of services, including prescriptions, contraception and sexual health advice. Students can register with the Medical Centre at any time.
If you’re already registered with a doctor’s surgery in the local area then you should contact your own GP to arrange to receive the vaccine.
It wouldn’t kill you to get the vaccine. It might, however, if you don’t.

 

Meningitis - The Symptoms

Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by either bacteria or viruses. Septicaemia is blood poisoning caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream and multiplying uncontrollably.

For up to date information on Meningitis vaccinations, see the following link: www.nhs.uk/conditions/Meningitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Meningitis - The Symptoms

Last year over 500 young adults contracted meningitis or meningitis blood poisoning. These diseases can kill in hours if not treated.

Many of the symptoms are similar to those of flu, but if you are worried – about yourself or a friend – contact your doctor immediately, or the University Medical Centre or see the Health and Wellbeing web page for local hospitals. The Student Union and Student Services have information about meningitis and contact the University community quickly if there are any cases locally.

Check out the symptoms list on this page

  • If you're feeling really bad tell someone
  • If a friend is looking rough stick around
  • If it gets worse rapidly, get a doctor's help immediately

Meningitis Blood Poisoning:

  • Rash - (starts as tiny red pin prick marks and develops into purple bruises or blood blisters)
  • Very cold hands and feet
  • Rapid breathing
  • Losing consciousness
  • Pains in the limbs, joints, muscles and stomach
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Throwing up repeatedly
  • Fever

  • health items image

Meningitis:

Symptoms in adults and older children, look for:

  • Severe headache
  • Severe sleepiness or confusion
  • Stiff neck
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Throwing up repeatedly
  • Fever
  • Rash

Symptoms in babies and very young children, look for:

  • Difficulty waking
  • A high-pitched cry that’s different from normal
  • Repeated vomiting, not just after feeds
  • A refusal to feed
  • A tight or bulging soft spot on top of the head
  • Fever (not always present)
  • Involuntary stiffening of the body or a floppy body
  • Blotchy/pale skin

Not everyone gets all these symptoms

1 in 10 of us, at any time are carrying the bacteria which cause these diseases. We pass them between each other by regular close contact, such as kissing. It is OK for the vast majority of us to carry these bacteria - they don't make us ill.

But, in a very small number of people the bacteria get into the blood stream and cause meningitis or meningitis blood poisoning. We don't know who is at risk - so get the symptoms sussed - it could save a life.

24 Hour Helpline: 080 8800 3344

The Meningitis Research Foundation website can be found at: www.meningitis.org

The Meningitis Research Foundation
Head Office
Midland Way
Thornbury
Bristol BS35 2BS

The foundation is dedicated to funding vital scientific research into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia and is currently funding research projects.

More information on the UCLan website

University Medical Centre (registration, contact, opening hours, out-of-hours support)

External links

Meningitis Now website

Meningitis Research Foundation

Meningitis Trust