EXPERTS from Barnsley Hospital have urged students to seek medical help instead of assuming each illness is coronavirus as young people prepare to leave home for the first time.

Illnesses such as meningitis have similar symptoms of coronavirus, but left untreated could prove deadly.

The charity, Meningitis Now has warned that the university environment provides “the perfect breeding ground for diseases such as meningitis” due to a large number of people beginning to cohabit in one place.

The charity has also found that a quarter of 18-24 year olds carry meningococcal bacteria in the back of their throats compared to one-in-ten of the general population. This could help increase the spread of the illness.

Experts have expressed concern that young people with the symptoms of meningitis may put themselves in danger by mistaking the illness for coronavirus and entering into self-isolation instead of seeking medical help.

The symptoms of meningitis are similar to Covid-19, but require urgent attention by medical professionals.

They are:

  • A high temperature

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Vomiting

  • Confusion

  • Spots or a rash

  • Breathing quickly

Dr Andy Snell, public health consultant at Barnsley Hospital, said: “Students should seek help if they are showing symptoms of any serious illness, including meningitis.”

For more information about meningitis, click here.