This website has been developed and funded by GSK and is intended for UK members of the public.

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Doctor vaccinating a teenage girl
Doctor vaccinating a teenage girl

Help protect your family

There are many ways to help protect you and your family from bacteria that may cause meningitis. Covering your mouth when coughing and regularly washing your hands can help prevent transmission. There are also certain vaccines available for free on the NHS, however, even if you've had one meningitis vaccine, you may still be missing protection from certain types.


See below to find out how to protect you and your family.

How can you help prevent the spread of meningitis-causing infections?1


The bacteria can spread from one person to another by droplets from the nose and mouth. While they do not spread as easily as infections like flu, those in close contact with someone with meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria are at increased risk of picking up the infection.

wash hands

Wash hands

Particularly before and after eating, and after spending time in crowded areas.
Avoid sharing

Avoid sharing

Avoid swapping cutlery, sharing drinks or straws, lip balms or toothbrushes.
Cover mouth

Cover mouth

When coughing or sneezing, especially in crowded places or if you are feeling unwell.
consider vaccination

Consider vaccination

Speak to your pharmacist, nurse or doctor for more information on how to protect you and your family.

You can reduce the risk of getting meningitis by ensuring all your vaccinations are up to date.2

Teenage vaccination2

There are vaccines available to cover the main types of meningococcal disease:

  1. Meningitis ACWY:
  2. This is on the NHS schedule and is offered in school to 13 to 15, year old pupils. Teenagers should check they have had this vaccine with their healthcare professional.


  3. Meningitis B:
  4. This is offered by the NHS to babies born after May 2015. Teenagers are unlikely to have received this.

Contact your healthcare professional (doctor, nurse, pharmacist) for more information.

Doctor vaccinating a teenage boy

Young children vaccination2

Young children are not offered vaccinations against all types of meningitis on the NHS. Visit the NHS website for more information.


For children born after May 2015 the vaccines offered by the NHS help protect against the most common types of meningitis.

Young baby lying on a changing mat smiling

References

  1. Meningitis Research Foundation website: How does Meningitis spread? Accessed April 2024.

  2. NHS Meningitis website: Causes; Vaccination. Accessed April 2024.