Meningitis and You

All you need to know about the disease that is not sweeping our campus.

Meningitis. A buzzword, bringing to minds images of injection needles, rashes, and all sorts of other uncomfortable and confusing medical things. Unless you’re a medic, or particularly interested in diseases, you probably don’t know much about it. So first let’s demystify this thing:

  • Meningitis is a disease in which the meninges (membranes around your brain and spinal cord) become inflamed.
  • It is caused by viral or bacterial infection.
  • Symptoms may include headaches, fever, sensitivity to light, muscular rigidity, and rashes – although none of these are definite markers.
  • There is much encouragement within the UK for all young people and university students (i.e. you) to have the Meningitis ACWY vaccine.
  • This vaccine should protect you against types A, C, W, and Y (obviously).
  • It’s a single vaccine, which usually has very mild side effects, if at all.
  • Check out this website for more information! 

How does it affect me, you ask? Why am I reading this article about a disease I don’t have and probably won’t get?

If you’ve been reading your emails, you might know the answer to this. Two separate strands of meningitis have been identified in St Andrews students hospitalised since the beginning of this term. And that’s why it’s more important than ever that you make sure you’ve got the Men ACWY vaccine. While many people carry the bacteria, we don’t all develop immunity as an automatic reaction. Imagine that one person who was hospitalised – then imagine the string of personal relationships between them and you – and imagine how easily it could pass between people. And though it’s harder than most diseases to pass from person-to-person (remember the horrors of freshers’ flu!) it is definitely still possible. Better safe than sorry. Trust me.

If you haven’t got it yet – not to fear. Our two medical practices here, Blackfriars and Pipeland, are very helpful. Call them up, at 01334 477477 and 01334 476840 respectively, and you can get an appointment. No, Americans, you don’t have to pay for it. No, anti-vaxxers, it won’t give you autism, or anything else for that matter. Just a resistance to a deadly disease. Seems useful, right?

Only in cases of pregnancy, blood problems and high temperatures would one be encouraged not to have the vaccine. If none of those things apply to you (just to clarify: the high temperature means the temperature inside your body, not your mixtape) then please, please get the vaccine.

It is important that you understand the seriousness of this problem, often first-hand accounts are much more moving and therefore please take your time to read here; the story of a St Andrew’s girl with Meningitis.

This has been your friendly, Stand-promoted reminder to get the Men ACWY vaccine.

Have a great day!



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