News ID: 176422
Published: 0343 GMT January 25, 2017

How to spot symptoms of life-threatening Meningitis

How to spot symptoms of life-threatening Meningitis

Meningitis occurs in a range of ways — viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis — affecting people of all ages.

It is crucial to spot the signs of the condition as soon as possible so people affected by the disease stand the best chance of recovery, reported.

Viral meningitis usually affects babies and toddlers, and although most will make a full recovery, some are left with serious after effects.

Bacterial meningitis can also cause potentially fatal septicemia —blood poisoning — and requires urgent medical treatment. It is estimate one in ten cases of bacterial meningitis is fatal.

This strain is also most likely to affect babies and young children because their immune systems are not fully developed.

Meningitis Now, a charity dedicated to fighting meningitis, has listed the symptoms of the condition.

The charity said: “Early symptoms can include fever, vomiting, muscle pain and cold hands and feet.

“Someone with meningitis or septicemia can get a lot worse very quickly.”

Meningitis Now also wants to people not to wait for a rash. The charity warned: “If someone is ill and getting worse, seek help immediately.”

Symptoms in babies and toddlers can be slightly different to adults.

They include fever, cold hands and feet, fretful and a dislike of being handled, rapid breathing or grunting, an unusual cry, stiff neck or a dislike of bright lights, refusing food and vomiting, drowsy, floppy and unresponsive, pale blotchy skin with spots or a rash and convulsions or seizures.

The charity has listed the symptoms of meningitis in children and adults. These include:

Fever, cold hands and feet

Drowsiness and difficult to wake

Severe muscle pain

Severe headache


Confusion and irritability

Pale, blotchy skin

A stiff neck

A dislike of bright lights

Convulsions and seizures


The meningitis rash is one of the most obvious symptoms of the condition.  Advice on the NHS Choices website states: “The classic rash associated with meningitis usually looks like small, red pinpricks at first.

“It then spreads over the body quickly and turns into red or purple blotches. If you press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin and the rash doesn't fade, it's a sign of blood poisoning (septicemia) caused by meningitis and you should get medical advice right away.

“The rash can be harder to see on dark skin.

 “Check for spots on paler areas like the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, the tummy, inside the eyelids, and the roof of the mouth.”


Complications of meningitis


Complications of the condition can include hearing loss, recurrent seizures or even epilepsy, problems with memory, behaviorally problems, vision loss and loss of limbs.

Sometimes limbs are removed in a bid to prevent infection spreading through the body.

Kidney problems and issues with bones and joints can also occur.

There is no vaccine to protect against all type of meningitis, however there are vaccinations available.

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