Fresher’s is just a month away and while the excitement of results day is rife, there are some important things you need to do before you jump in the car with all your belongings.
Every new student under the age of 25 should get the Men ACWY vaccine. It may just save your life.
Cases of meningitis and septicemia are rising, with university students in the high risk category.
Meningitis, spread by an aggressive strain of the Men W bug, is treatable, however, it’s fatal in 1 in 10 cases, and could lead to long term health problems such as deafness, epilepsy and learning disabilities.
Why should new students get the vaccine?
As new students – fresher’s, postgrads or international students – you will be spending a lot of time mixing with new people, both in your halls of residences and in nightclubs. Up to a quarter these new people you meet will be carriers of the infection.
Meningitis is spread by sneezing, coughing, kissing and sharing kitchen utensils or cigarettes. So it’s imperative to get the vaccine, not only to prevent having the illness yourself, but also to protect others around you.
— PublicHealthEngland (@PHE_uk) August 17, 2016
How do I get the vaccine?
Public Health England advise any first-time university student under 25 to contact their GP and make an appointment to get this vaccination.
International students are advised to register with a GP when they arrive in the UK and get the vaccine.
What you need to know about meningitis
- It’s an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord
- Early symptoms include headache, vomiting, muscle pain, fever and cold hands and feet (quite similar to a regular hangover)
- The bacteria are surprisingly common and carried harmlessly in the nose or throat by up to a quarter of university students
- Make sure you can recognize the symptoms. If you suspect someone is infected, get them straight to the hospital as this is a deadly disease
Talking to the BBC, Amy Davis, 18, describes how she got meningitis a few months before she was due to start university. She spent 3 weeks in intensive care and had to have both her feet, and later her leg amputated.
Liz Brown, Chief Executive of the charity Meningitis Now advises “It’s vital that those going to uni this autumn are not complacent about the threat of meningitis – we urge them to take up this lifesaving vaccine before they go.”
If you’re about to start university and are under 25, talk to a doctor about getting the MEN ACWY vaccine. Further information can be found on the NHS Website.
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