Meningitis & Septicemia Information

Meningitis and Septicaemia

The One Shot You Won’t Regret

Meningitis Vaccination - The One Shot You Won't Regret

Meningitis and septicaemia are serious diseases that can affect anyone at any time. Students in particular, are at increased risk. The MenACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia): A, C, W and Y. Students going to university for the first time, including overseas and mature students, who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine remain eligible up to their 25th birthday. Ideally you should get vaccinated more than two weeks before term starts to help stop the spread, but you can still get the jab from a GP once you start University. 

Click here for more information on the MenACWY vaccine.





Signs and symptoms

Vaccines can’t prevent all forms of meningitis and septicaemia and not everyone will develop all these symptoms – they can appear in any order and be mixed between the two illnesses.

  • fever

  • very bad headache

  • vomiting

  • very cold hands and feet

  • stiff neck/ severe pains and aches in limbs and joints

  • dislike of bright lights

  • pale or mottled skin/ a blotchy rash that doesn't fade when a glass is rolled over it*

  • confusion, delirium

  • severe sleepiness, losing consciousness

  • diarrhoea and stomach cramps

  • difficulty walking or standing

  • seizures

*On dark skin, check inside the eyelids or roof of the mouth where the spots may be more visible.


What to do

These illnesses can be deadly and survivors are often left with life-changing disabilities. You should not wait for a rash to develop before seeking urgent medical attention.

Call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department immediately if you think you may be seriously ill. Call NHS 111 or your GP surgery for advice if you're not sure if it's anything serious or you think you may have been exposed to someone with meningitis.

Keep an eye out for your friends, and don’t be afraid to ask them how they’re feeling, you could be saving their life.