Woman Who Thought Her Meningitis Was ‘Fresher’s Flu’ Takes First Steps In Years

The scary thing about illnesses is that many of them have the same symptoms so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what ailment a sick person has. In the U.S., it can be even harder considering paid sick-time is not a guarantee for many workers. Taking the day off, or any amount of time off the clock to visit a doctor to get checked out is oftentimes completely out of the realm of possibilities. People either self-diagnose or wait to go to a walk-in clinic with after hour care to find out what’s got them feeling under the weather.


In other cases, people just don’t think anything is really wrong with them and chalk up a runny nose to allergies or a head cold. The biggest offenders? College students.

When you’re 18-22, you feel invincible and it’s easy to write something serious off as a common cold or even flu. They don’t get diagnosed properly and it can lead to harrowing situations in a very short time.


That’s what happened to 23-year-old Jemma Pressman four years ago when she was a second-year law student at the University of Leicester. Jemma developed a fever and some vomiting and assumed she was having a bout with “fresher’s flu,” commonly associated with new students coming down with cold or flu-like symptoms during the first few weeks of college.


In Jemma’s case, it got worse and worse until her mom had to drive 130 miles to pick her daughter up to bring her home for care.

“I didn’t think much of it, I thought it was maybe mumps – loads of students get that,” Jemma said. She was very, very wrong.

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