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Kathleen Hawkins was in her first year at Leeds University when she contracted meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia and lost both her legs as a result. Meningitis and septicaemia strike suddenly and kill in hours. After babies and young children, us students are the most at-risk group. When we move from home onto campus we don’t just meet new people, we meet new bacteria. Meningitis Research Foundation Chief Executive Christopher Head says its vital students are aware of the symptoms and set up systems to check on one another: “We freely supply symptoms cards and posters, and encourage students to take personal responsibility. Students need to share awareness and take care of one another – regularly checking up on friends and housemates when they complain of being ill and seeking medical help fast when concerned. The earlier the symptoms are treated the more lives are saved from death and serious disability.” Winter always sees an increase in cases, and knowing the symptoms is vital so that medical help can be given in time to save lives. The early symptoms can be easily mistaken for milder illnesses such as flu, or hangover. Find out more about the symptoms of meningitis here: www.meningitis.org/symptoms Meningitis Research Foundation also offers support and a wide range of awareness resources free of charge to universities, colleges and schools across the UK. To speak to the Helpline or to order your free literature please call: 080 8800 3344.