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Health and Wellbeing

Could it be meningitis?

By Adrian 21 Jan 2022

As social distancing measures have been eased, there has been a rebound in cases of meningitis amongst students. Here's what you should look out for. 

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. There are many different causes, but the two most common are bacteria and virus infections. Some bacteria that that cause meningitis can also cause septicaemia (blood poisoning).

Meningitis and septicaemia can kill. That's why it's important to know...

What are the symptoms and signs of meningitis and septicaemia?

Watch this short video to find out:

For more information about the symptoms and signs of meningitis, visit Meningitis Now

What should you do if you suspect meningitis?

If you are worried that you or a friend may have meningitis, do not delay: get medical help quickly. 

Do not wait for a rash to appear. If someone is ill and getting worse, get help.

How to get help

  • Call NHS 111 - dial 111.
  • If you're in halls, call reception and ask them to alert the person on duty. But don't let this delay you from seeking medical help. Speaking to a doctor or nurse must be your priority.

In an emergency

  • Go to A&E or call 999 for an ambulance.
  • If you're in halls, call reception and ask them to alert the person on duty. But don't let this delay you from seeking medical help. Getting to see a doctor, nurse, or paramedic must be your priority.

What to do 

  • Describe the symptoms carefully and say that you think it could be meningitis or septicaemia.
  • If you have had medical advice and are still worried, get medical help again as early diagnosis can be difficult.

Are you vaccinated?

It's strongly recommended that all students under the age of 25 have the Meningitis ACWY vaccine. If you're not sure whether you've had the vaccine, check today with your parent/guardian or ask your GP.

Find out more on the NHS website.

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Adrian is a medical doctor, the Student Health & Wellbeing Manager at the University of London and the Warden of Connaught Hall, where he has lived for almost 25 years.
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