Torbay Council’s Public Health team is encouraging students to make sure they are vaccinated by September.
New students to university and sixth form should get in touch with a GP to book in for the Meningitis ACWY vaccine and any other vaccines they did not receive as an infant.
Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing and Corporate Services, Deputy Mayor and Cllr Derek Mills, said: “Bacterial Meningitis is an extremely dangerous infection if left untreated and the best way to ensure you are kept healthy is prevention. The vaccine is free from a GP surgery and can be administered through a routine appointment.”
Meningitis comes in two forms, bacterial and viral and is an infection which affects the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and the brain. The infection can cause septicaemia and result in other long lasting damage to nerves and the brain. Bacterial meningitis which is not treated can lead to hearing loss, blindness, epilepsy and loss of limbs.
Teenagers and young people are particularly vulnerable to the infection because they mix in large groups of people from different backgrounds, some of whom may not have received vaccinations. The infection can be spread easily through coughing, sneezing and the sharing of cutlery. The very young are also susceptible to infection.
Symptoms of both viral and bacterial meningitis are, but not limited to: a prevalent rash which doesn’t disappear under the pressure of a glass; a high temperature; nausea; restlessness; a fever; a negative reaction to bright lights; and seizures.
If you expect that you or someone in your care has meningitis call 999 or visit your local accident and emergency. There is no way to know whether the infection is bacterial or viral without medical tests.
There are various vaccines offered to individuals from birth to protect against the infection however as new strains of the infection become prevalent it is even more important to get the most up to date vaccine to protect yourself and those around you.
For more information on the vaccine and the different ways to keep yourself happy and healthy visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/Meningitis