Hollyoaks highlights meningitis danger to students

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This week’s hard hitting storyline in Hollyoaks sees first year university student Ash Kane suddenly collapse in her student halls, where she is later diagnosed with meningitis.

National charity he Meningitis Trust is reminding students to be aware of all the signs and symptoms of meningitis.

Students are an at risk group, with up to 30 per cent of them carrying the most common bacteria which causes meningitis, compared to 10 per cent of the population as a whole.

University students are vulnerable due to living in more cramped housing or halls of residence. In many cases young people come together from all over the country - and indeed world - to live in one place and can be exposed to bacteria and viruses their body’s have not met before.

As the early symptoms of meningitis can disguise themselves as other things, such as ‘fresher’s flu’, or maybe a hangover, it’s easy to mistake meningitis for something else.

Every year around 3,000 cases of bacterial meningitis are reported in the UK – leaving 10 per cent dead and 15 per cent of survivors with severe after-effects such as brain damage, loss of hearing and sight and, where septicaemia has occurred, loss of limbs and scarring.

It’s a disease which can strike quickly and kill within hours, so knowledge of the symptoms, vigilance and quick action are vital.

The Trust is asking students to know the symptoms, trust their instincts and look out for their friends. They should register with the student health service and know how to get urgent medical attention.

The Trust has a free symptoms application for iPhone and the Android, these are available at www.meningitisapp.co.uk.

To get hold of the credit card sized signs and symptoms cards, simply call its freephone 24-hour nurse-led helpline on 0808 80 10 388, or visit the website at www.meningitis-trust.org.