Whilst nothing should detract from you enjoying this time, sharing your space with others can mean sharing with a few new bugs too.
For the most part, all you’ll catch is ‘freshers’ flu’; however, did you know that you are one of the groups which is also at risk of contracting Meningitis? Meningitis is a relatively rare but very serious and fast moving disease. As well as being potentially fatal, it can lead to problems such as brain injury, loss of limbs, and hearing and sight problems.
First things first, are you up to date with your MMR vaccine? This protects against measles, mumps and rubella; infections that can potentially lead to Meningitis, amongst other serious illnesses. Find out more about the MMR vaccine here.
The MenACWY vaccine
Cases of meningitis and septicaemia caused by the meningitis W strain are increasing. As a young person, you are particularly at risk, and the MenACWY vaccine is the best way to protect yourself.
You are eligible for the free NHS vaccine if:
- You were born between 1 September 1998 and 31 August 1999
- OR You were born after 1 September 1996 and missed your routine school vaccination in years 9 to 10 or the catch up MenACWY vaccination
- OR you are going to university for the first time, including overseas and mature students, who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccination, and it is before your 25th birthday.
Find out more about the vaccine here.
Next, make sure you check out our information below to help you stay aware and protect yourself and others.
How can you get meningitis?The Meningococcal bacteria can be passed from one person to another by:
- Sharing kitchen utensils
- Sharing personal belongings such as a cigarette or toothbrush
- Meningitis can be deceiving, and early symptoms can appear as other illnesses, such as flu. Even what feels like a hangover could be the first symptoms of the disease.
- Also look out for: vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, fever, cold hands and feet, sore muscles, pale skin with spots or a rash, severe headache, stiff neck, convulsions, and a dislike of bright lights.
- You can experience just some or all of these symptoms, in any order.
- Find out more about the possible symptoms on the Meningitis Now website.
- If you haven’t already, make sure you register with a local GP. Have a look at information on local medical practices.
- Get your vaccination! Once you’ve registered at the GP, ask them about booking a vaccination.
- Tell a friend if you don’t feel well and equally, look out for your friends. If you recognise signs and symptoms, seek medical help immediately.