People with headaches, a fever, nausea or aching bones might automatically think they have the winter common cold or flu but this could also mean meningitis. No one imagines themselves getting something this serious or possibly fatal within a few days just by having these very familiar symptoms.
Meningitis is one of the deadliest sickness that occur all over the United States every winter but this year, it is making its feature especially in Southern California. Its symptoms are so sneaky that they sound just like influenza and can be easily misidentified with countless other viruses and infections.
Meningitis is known for being an airborne respiratory infection but it is most commonly spread through saliva or other materials from the nose and mouth. It definitely takes some serious saliva sharing, such as kissing. It is known to be spread by people within close quarters, just by things like sneezing into open air around a crowd of people.
Because of this, detection of it can either be very quick or almost unidentifiable. Even though meningitis is sneaky, some people are definitely aware of it and how detrimental it can really be. English major, Vicente Fernandez, knows about it thanks to one of this family members working in the Anaheim City School District.
“I have always known that meningitis is especially spread from young children to young adults about our age in college,” Fernandez said. “Every year, I’m always told that at least 10 people just in our vicinity that have died from it and just by watching the news, it is spreading again this winter. I would never be surprised if people started getting it here.”
This is why colleges are such a big risk because they have a high percentage of students. Even though it sounds terrible, death is the most severe case and many people do get better.
Viral meningitis almost always gets better on its own within two weeks without antibiotics. The only things needed are the usual bed rest and lots of fluids. Bacterial meningitis is deadlier but there is also a cure for it. Antibiotics will definitely be needed and in emergency cases, hospitalization to avoid further complications.
Because it has not completely made its whole way around Orange County specifically Fullerton College, there are some people who do not realize how dangerous meningitis really can be.
“I’ve heard about meningitis just from seeing signs encouraging everyone to go get the shot but I still don’t really know what it is,” said Josh Lopez, radio and television major. “I guess it’s a lot worse than people think. I’d definitely be scared if it starts coming around Fullerton.”
Not only is it a threat to our school but it has already made its way into some of the biggest universities in Southern California. Just a few weeks ago, an 18-year-old San Diego State University student died from it. At Palomar College, a student was hospitalized with the “B” strain of the bacteria, which is the same as the SDSU student even though there was no connection between the two.
The good and bad news for Fullerton College is that a cause may have been found for the sudden increase of cases, but that cause may mean that this year’s case of meningitis may be the worst yet.
After a meningitis outbreak at the University of Maryland, it was quickly found that enterovirus, just like the outbreak California had just a few months ago, may have started it all.
Maryland’s state public health lab also mentioned that people should not be alarmed by an outbreak, which means if were to happen here, students should not be alarmed either. Everyone just needs to remember that washing hands, keeping surfaces clean and avoiding already sick people are the best things to avoid meningitis.