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  • Meningitis 13 September 2019 | View comments

  • Next week is Meningitis Awareness week, organised by @MeningitisResearch and @MeningitisNow.


    Meningitis is a serious condition that occurs when the meninges - protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord - become infected and inflamed. Early symptoms can be similar to the flu. However, having a stiff neck in addition to flu-like symptoms could be a key clue that meningitis is the problem and should be checked by a doctor.

    Meningitis can start suddenly, or develop more gradually; early symptoms often include one or more of fever, headache or neck stiffness.

    FEVER. Running a fever is a normal part of the immune system’s defence against infections. A fever with meningitis will usually (but not always) be above 39 degrees.

    HEADACHE. A headache caused by meningitis is typically described as severe and unrelenting. It does not subside by taking an aspirin / paracetamol.

    NECK STIFFNESS. This most commonly manifests as extreme stiffness of the muscles that extend the skull on the neck; called nuchal rigidity; and can be very limiting in neck flexion especially.

    RASH. This is typically blotchy and red or purple; it is unchanged by rolling a glass over the rash.                                           

    As time goes on, other symptoms can develop, such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or noises or blurred vision; amongst other less common symptoms.


    It should be noted that bacterial and viral meningitis are both contagious, so they are more likely to be contracted and spread in areas where people live in close quarters, such as college dorms or military barracks.

    If you have any reason to suspect meningitis; call the NHS on 111; or speak to your GP directly; if rapidly progressing, go straight to A&E.


    You can find out more here:





    Meningitis by the Numbers UK

    Symptoms of Meningitis


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