The Symptoms

Meningitis and septicaemia can strike with little or no warning, but knowing the symptoms and acting fast can save lives. Some of the symptoms for meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia are the same, while others differ. Not everyone gets all of these symptoms and they can appear in any order. In the early stages of both diseases, symptoms can also often appear flu-like.

The most important thing to remember is to :

FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS AND ACT FAST
.

If you think something is wrong :
GO IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR NEAREST GP OR CASUALTY UNIT.
 

There are two types of meningococcal infections: septicaemia and meningitis. Someone suffering from meningococcal septicaemia may not necessarily develop meningitis. Therefore it is of the utmost importance that everyone is aware of the common symptoms of both diseases.

The common symptoms of meningococcal septicaemia
  • A red rash (see Tumbler Test)
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Rapid breathing
  • Drowsiness or impaired consciousness
  • Abdominal/joint and muscle pain
  • Floppy child
  • Fever, vomiting (may not be present at first)

The common symptoms of bacterial meningitis

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Body stiffening with jerky movements
  • Floppy child
  • Fever, vomiting
  • Confusion and drowsiness
  • Rash

Meningitis
Classic symptoms are a headache, stiff neck and dislike of bright light. Other symptoms can include difficulty supporting own weight, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and confusion and drowsiness.
The symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis are the same as meningococcal meningitis.

Meningococcal septicaemia
Common symptoms include aching limbs (particularly leg pain), cold hands and feet and a rash which starts like pin prick spots and develops rapidly into purple bruising.

Other symptoms may include difficulty supporting own weight, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and confusion and drowsiness, as well as difficulty breathing and change in skin colour.

A Rash may not always be present so do not wait for a rash to develop.

Anyone whose health rapidly deteriorates in a matter of a few hours should seek medical attention immediately.

** Not everyone gets all these symptoms, and they can appear in any order **

THE TUMBLER TEST

Important: Someone who becomes unwell rapidly should be examined particularly carefully for the meningococcal septicaemia rash.

The majority of people (over 50%) with meningococcal septicaemia develop a rash of tiny ‘pink prick' spots which can rapidly develop into purple bruising. To identify the rash, press a glass tumbler against it and if the rash does not fade, it could be meningococcal septicaemia.
 

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS AND ACT FAST. IF YOU SUSPECT EITHER DISEASE GO IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR NEAREST GP OR CASUALTY UNIT.
 

If the rash does not fade when a glass is pressed against it, it could be meningococcal septicaemia.

On dark skin, check for the rash on lighter parts of the body, eg. inner eyelids or finger tips.

 

 

 

Babies and Toddlers

It is particularly hard to tell when babies and toddlers are ill and what their symptoms are. As well as the symptoms mentioned above, additional symptoms to look out for include high pitched cry or irritability especially when held, tense or bulging soft spot ( fontanelle ) on their head, blotchy, pale or blue skin and poor feeding. Unfortunately, the symptoms in babies do not present in any particular order. In the majority of cases, with babies in particular, you will notice a rapid deterioration in their condition.


Remember - It is important to trust your instincts and if you suspect anything is wrong, seek medical help immediately by going to your nearest GP or Casualty Unit. Early identification and prompt treatment can be the difference between life and death.

Sadly, there are occasions when people show no or very few symptoms, which can make spotting the disease incredibly difficult for both families and health professionals. This shows how important it is to develop a vaccine to prevent the disease. The Martin Finch Memorial Fund is committed to raise funds for this vital research work to find such a Vaccine.

 

"I read about the test in a newspaper, thankfully the story stayed with me. With this disease you don't have time to think, you have to act quickly and this test could literally mean the difference between life and death."

Claire Talbot, Oxfordshire.
"This simple life-saving test must be one of the most important things I have learnt.
It was significant in saving my son Fergus' life."

Rhona Roxburgh, Edinburgh.

  Please Click here to Hear the latest Meningitis awareness radio advert campaign

For More Information Please Visit any of the following Links Below
 

Home | Personal | Events | Meningitis | Contact Us