Student’s ‘freshers’ flu’ turned out to be meningitis

Posted: 25th September 2023

A student who mistook the symptoms of meningitis for so-called freshers’ flu believes his housemate saved his life.

Levi Lawrence, 21, was sick for three weeks with a “continuous cold” until one day he started vomiting.

The Swansea University student’s housemate took him to hospital, where doctors said he had a meningococcal infection that developed into sepsis.

Levi, from Wolverhampton, spent 10 days in hospital and used crutches for months after being discharged.

“It just sprung up on me. I didn’t even know I’d been in hospital for that long really,” said Levi.

He said students should be aware of the symptoms of meningitis and sepsis, and that he would always be grateful to his housemate for taking him to hospital.

“I think she did save my life. If she wasn’t there I probably would have died, or they would have had to amputate my legs, so I’m grateful she was there.”

Public Health Wales (PHW) is urging all students to ensure they are up to date with their childhood vaccinations to minimise their risk of serious illnesses, including meningitis and measles.

“It’s really important that young people make sure they get these vaccines, which protect them from serious illnesses and allow them to get on with enjoying this new phase of their life,” said Dr Chris Johnson, head of the vaccine preventable disease programme at PHW.

“Routine childhood vaccinations are safe and effective and protect against the serious consequences of infectious diseases that so often circulate among young people starting university.”

Statistics suggest that the introduction of the meningitis C vaccine has reduced the number of cases caused by meningitis C by 90%.

Levi is now starting his second year at Swansea University but had to spend the summer break catching up.

“A lot of the exams and assignments that I had missed, I had to re-sit and I ended up having to do supplements in August because I had missed a significant portion of them,” he said.

“I wasn’t able to go to different events that I wanted to go to, like the Halloween events, because I couldn’t walk because I was on crutches.

“Because of that I missed out on a lot of opportunities, like making new friends.”

Source: Student’s ‘freshers’ flu’ turned out to be meningitis – BBC News

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