Protecting College Students Against Meningitis

Over the past few years, Covid-19 has taken the world by storm. However, many other illnesses and infections can throw your education off course. Many of them can be treated quickly if caught early on, but they can quickly turn life-threatening if left untreated.

College can be overwhelming, but it’s important to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, we can expose ourselves to unknown risks from everyday actions we never put much thought into, such as sharing a drink with a friend or kissing a loved one.

According to the CDC, there are over 1.2 million cases of bacterial meningitis estimated to happen around the world each year. But what is it, and what does it mean for you?

College Students and Meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of membranes around your spinal cord and brain. There are two common types of meningitis: bacterial and viral. Where viral meningitis can be mild and resolved on its own, bacterial meningitis is life-threatening if left untreated. 

So what does this have to do with college students? Meningitis is contagious, and it can easily be spread, especially when living in close proximity to other people. College students are more likely to contract meningitis due to living in dorms and going to class in close proximity to other students. This is why some colleges and universities require that college students get the meningitis vaccine. 

Meningitis can be spread through the sharing of body fluids, so it can be passed from several areas of contact, such as:

  • Kissing
  • Sharing of e-cigarettes or vapes
  • Coughing or sneezing in enclosed areas
  • Sharing of cups or utensils
  • Sharing of needles for drug use

Meningitis can spread quickly from one housemate to other once someone is infected. Symptoms can be mild and include sore neck, fever, and headaches. If the case is severe and left untreated, complications can arise. It should be known that if you have a chronic illness, there is an increased risk than your peers in good health. 

You can measure the risk to keep yourself and those around you safe and healthy. Here are some risk factors that you can keep in mind to prevent meningitis:

  • Age
  • Traveling
  • Having a chronic condition
  • Not having a functioning spleen or no spleen
  • IV drug use
  • Having a persistent complement component deficiency

The best prevention for meningitis is getting vaccinated. The CDC recommends that preteens and teens receive the vaccine. Many colleges and universities require college students the vaccination to attend school. There is also the recommendation to take preventative safety measures such as:

  • Staying home when sick
  • No sharing of personal care items
  • No sharing of cups, straws, or utensils
  • Washing your hands properly
  • Carrying hand sanitizer
  • Practicing safe sex

Meningitis can be prevented by college students by doing preventive safety measures. No one wants to get sick in college, so make sure that you are up to date with your vaccination for meningitis and follow the ways to keep you and your peers safe and healthy.

Make Sure You’re Protected

Tuition Insurance

If you do get sick and are unable to attend classes, it’s essential that you have a backup plan. GradGuard is here to help ensure that you and your family understand the risks of attending college. Unfortunately, most universities cannot refund your tuition and other costs associated with attending college.

Our plans can provide peace of mind by helping reimburse the financial losses if a student withdraws at any time during the covered term for a covered reason. To learn more about protecting your investment in higher education, visit us at

Health Insurance

Unfortunately, one thing that tuition insurance doesn’t cover is medical costs. If you need to go to the doctor, you’ll need to have a health insurance plan to help you pay for any medical expenses. Usually, students are still covered under their parent’s plans. However, that’s not always the case. If you require your own plan, your school or university may have a plan that you can purchase.

Major or chronic illnesses, accidents, and injuries happen more often than you think, even to young and healthy college students. The good news is that college families can protect their investment in higher education by purchasing tuition insurance. Visit to see the plans available on your campus.