All About Meningitis

Hide Video Transcript

Video Transcript

Bacteria and viruses hang out everywhere. They're on doorknobs, countertops, fingers, even on your phone. Teens can easily come in contact with the worst of these, which could lead to a deadly case of meningitis. Knowing the risks could save your life.

Most cases of meningitis are caused by viruses that spread like the flu. That means spending time in cramped quarters, like military bases, boarding schools, and even college campuses increases your chances. In fact, freshmen living in the dorm are seven times more likely to get meningitis than other students.

Why are tight spaces a problem? Because the flu virus can transfer between people standing just six feet apart, and that happens through coughing, sneezing, and kissing. Some people, they're called carriers, have these germs in their nose and throat. They show no sign of sickness.

Does that mean you shouldn't pull an all nighter studying in the dorm this fall? Not exactly. But here are a few dos and don'ts to help you get through the year. Don't share items like cups, forks, straws, lip balm, toothbrushes, or cigarettes. And that last one has its own host of reasons.

Remember what your mother always said. Wash your hands. Use soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub, if nothing else is around. Clean your room with disinfectant. Wash your dishes and linens, especially if you have a roommate or visitor who's been sick.

Meningitis can feel like a bad flu, but you know your body better than anyone else. If something seems off, talk to your doctor. Don't feel shy about asking when your health is on the line.