Our expert says:
Gummy, the following symptoms of meningitis (and septicaemia) may occur in adults and older children over the age of two years:
1. High fever and chills
2. Severe headache
3. Stiff neck (unable to touch chin to chest)
These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days. Meningitis can resemble a bad case of the flu.
Other symptoms may include:
4. Discomfort looking into bright lights
6. Pain in arms, legs and abdomen
7. Confusion or disorientation, delirium (delusions or hallucinations)
8. Reddish-purple, patchy rash which turns white if pressure is applied to the area
In newborns and infants:
1. Fever with cool hands and feet
2. Feeding poorly or refusing feeds
4. High-pitched moaning cry
5. Dislike of being handled, irritable
6. Neck retraction with arching of back
7. Blank staring expression
8. Difficult to wake, lethargic, slow reactions
9. Pale blotchy complexion
Not everyone gets all of the above symptoms, and the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect in infants, children and the elderly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures, and coma may occur in severe cases.
The rash is usually a late symptom, and indicates septicaemia. It starts as tiny red or brownish blood spots, which look like pin-pricks, and develops into purple bruises or blood blisters. This rash is caused by bleeding under the skin, as a result of breakdown of the blood vessel walls.
Good luck and let me know if you have more questions.
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