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.
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 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
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
Symptoms in adults and older children, look for:
Symptoms in babies and very young children, look for:
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
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.
University Medical Centre (registration, contact, opening hours, out-of-hours support)