When your college students return home for Thanksgiving break this month, schedule an appointment for them to get vaccinated to prevent meningitis.

Irregular sleep patterns, crowded living quarters and lots of group socialization – factors of the college experience – make college students more susceptible to the disease.

Meningitis is a serious bacterial infection that causes the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord to inflame. If untreated, it could lead to disabilities or death.

Meningitis transfers from person-to-person through coughing, sneezing and kissing.

Students living in residence halls – where they are more likely to share personal items – should be especially cautious.

Symptoms include vomiting, high fever, stiff neck, headaches and confusion.

If these signs occur suddenly and severely they need immediate medical attention.

Resource: American College Health Association.

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