New and returning students in Lincoln are being advised to learn the symptoms of meningitis, a deadly brain bug.
The warning comes from charity Meningitis UK, who are giving students symptoms cards.
The charity stresses that students shouldn’t confuse the bug with Freshers’ Flu or a bad hangover, and should make sure their vaccinations are up to date.
Meningitis spreads easily by living in close confines or kissing, and peaks during the winter months.
Teens and those up to the age of 24 are the second most likely age group to contract the bug.
Around 90% of students fall ill during their first term, so Meningitis UK believe it is important for students to know the symptoms.
Meningitis UK’s Chief Executive Steve Dayman said: “We’ve come across tragic cases where students have gone to bed to sleep off a hangover, and have later been found either dangerously ill or dead in the morning.
“Remember that meningitis can kill in under four hours.
“I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to tell someone if you’re feeling rough and to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis.
“And, if you notice a friend’s under the weather, stick around to make sure their condition doesn’t deteriorate. If it does, seek urgent medical help.
“I encourage students to take the five minutes to check they’re up-to-date with their meningitis vaccinations as this could save their life.
“People’s immune systems may well be weakened as fresher flu spreads. This coupled with lack of sleep, stress, the colder weather and poor diet means the first few months of university are a key time for people to be alert.”
Common symptoms in adults include a headache, stiff neck and a dislike of bright light.
In the blood poisoning form (meningococcal septicaemia), symptoms such as aching limbs, cold hands and feet and a rash which develops into bruising are present.
Anyone displaying these symptoms should seek medical help immediately, even if the more deadly rash is not present.
For information and a symptom pack, call Meningitis UK on 0117 947 63 20 or visit the website.