Meningitis Symptoms: Warning Signs


Meningitis Symptoms Warning Signs

The first meningitis symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Red ticks show meningitis symptoms more specific to meningitis and septicaemia and less common in milder illnesses. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion.

It’s easy to mistake the early signs and meningitis symptoms for the flu (influenza). Meningitis symptoms and signs  may develop over several hours or over one or two days.

The meningitis symptoms and signs that may occur in anyone older than age of 2 include:

♦  Sudden high fever

♦  Severe headache that isn’t easily confused with other types of headache

♦  Stiff neck

♦  Vomiting or nausea with headache

♦  Confusion or difficulty concentrating

♦  Seizures

♦  Sleepiness or difficulty waking up

♦  Sensitivity to light

♦  Lack of interest in drinking and eating

♦  Skin rash in some cases, such as in meningococcal meningitis

Other Potential Signs and Meningitis Symptoms Disease

These are additional signs and meningitis symptoms infection that has entered the bloodstream:

♦  Abnormal skin color

♦  Stomach cramps

♦  Ice-cold hands and feet

♦  Skin rash

♦  Muscle ache or joint pain

♦  Rapid breathing

♦  Chills

Common Signs and Symptoms of Meningitis

Bacterial meningitis symptoms may develop within hours or days. Viral meningitis symptoms may also develop quickly or over several days. Here are more common signs and symptoms of both types. Not all symptoms may appear or appear in the same order. Fever, headache, and neck stiffness are the hallmark symptoms of meningitis.

♦  Fever

♦  Severe, persistent headache

♦  Neck stiffness and pain that makes it difficult to touch your chin to your chest

♦  Nausea and vomiting

♦  Confusion and disorientation (acting “goofy”)

♦  Drowsiness or sluggishness

♦  Sensitivity to bright light

♦  Poor appetite

♦  More severe symptoms include seizure and coma

Signs in newborns

Newborns and infants may not have the classic signs and symptoms of headache and stiff neck. Instead, signs of meningitis in this age group may include:

♦  High fever

♦  Constant crying

♦  Excessive sleepiness or irritability

♦  Inactivity or sluggishness

♦  Poor feeding

♦  A bulge in the soft spot on top of a baby’s head (fontanel)

♦  Stiffness in a baby’s body and neck

♦  Infants with meningitis may be difficult to comfort, and may even cry harder when picked up.

Meningitis signs in babies:

♦  Tense or bulging soft spot on their head

♦  Refusing to feed

♦  Irritable when picked up, with a high pitched or moaning cry

♦  A stiff body with jerky movements, or else floppy and lifeless

♦  Fever is often absent in babies less than three months of age