Meningitis risk for students

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STUDENTS across Wigan are being urged to be aware of the dangers of meningitis following a resurgence of cases.

A hard-hitting campaign by Meningitis UK is aiming to stop young adults becoming victims of the killer bug which kills thousands of people each year.

Meningitis symptoms include a headache, stiff neck and dislike of bright light.

Signs associated with septicaemia – blood poisoning caused by the meningitis bacteria – include cold hands and feet, aching limbs and a pin-prick rash which can rapidly develop into purple bruising.

The charity is also warning students to ensure they are up-to-date with their meningitis vaccinations by checking with their doctor.

Meningitis UK chief executive, Kate Rowland, said: “It’s vital that students know the symptoms of meningitis as they are at risk when they go to college or university.

“We’ve heard of tragic cases where students have gone to sleep off a hangover and been found either dangerously ill or dead in the morning.

“Meningitis can kill in under four hours.

“Knowing the signs can save lives because the sooner it is diagnosed, the better the chances of survival and avoiding outcomes such as limb loss, blindness or deafness.

“Our advice is simple, know the symptoms and if you suspect meningitis – seek medical advice immediately.”

A video for teenagers and students, ‘Meningitis - Know The Signs’, is available on Meningitis UK’s website.

For a free symptoms card and further information, call Meningitis UK on 0117 947 6320 or visit www.meningitisUK.org.

Meningitis facts:

•Meningitis can kill in four hours. Prompt treatment saves lives.

•Students often mistake the symptoms of meningitis with a hangover.

•Classic symptoms of meningitis include a headache, stiff neck and a dislike of bright light while those associated with septicaemia (blood poisoning) include aching limbs, cold hands and feet and a rash.

•Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining that covers the brain and spinal cord.

•Around 3,400 people contract bacterial meningitis and septicaemia in the UK each year. One in 10 people die and one in 4 are left with permanent disabilities.