A HARD-HITTING campaign aims to arm students with the knowledge to spot meningitis as swift action can save their lives.
Meningitis UK is offering free wallet-size symptoms cards to all students returning to college or university.
Students are particularly susceptible to meningitis, which can kill in four hours, with carriage rates peaking at 19 years old, so it is vital they are clued up about the brain bug.
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.
Meningitis can kill in four hours so it is vital that students look out for each and if they suspect the disease, trust their instincts and seek medical advice immediately.
This is particularly important during the start of term as students can mistake meningitis for a hangover or freshers’ flu.
The charity also warns 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.