Alex, the inspiration behind the Believe and Achieve Trust, contracted meningitis as a young child. It left him coping with many after-effects which eventually resulted in him losing his life 10 years after he contracted meningitis. He was passionate about raising awareness of meningitis to prevent other people going through what he did and to save lives.
What is Meningitis?
Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes, the 'meninges', that surround the brain and spinal cord. This infection causes these membranes to become inflamed, which in some cases can damage the nerves and brain. There are many different causes of meningitis and anyone can get it.
There are vaccines against some forms of meningitis but people must still remain vigilant for the signs and symptoms as they do not cover all forms and not all ages receive the vaccines. If you want to know more about vaccines, go to Meningitis Now.
Know the signs and symptoms
Symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia are many and varied. They can appear in any order or not at all and it is really important to trust your instincts. It is also essential that you do not wait for the rash that everyone thinks of as this often does not appear and, if it does, it is often very late on.
SPOT SIGNS IN ADULTS
Meningitis and septicaemia often happen together. It is important to be aware of all the signs and symptoms. If you suspect meningitis or septicaemia, get medical help immediately.
- Fever, cold hands and feet
- Pale, blotchy skin. Spots/rash
- Servere headache
- Drowsy, difficult to wake
- Stiff neck
- Confusion and irritability
- Dislike bright lights
- Severe muscle pain
SPOT SIGNS IN CHILDREN
Listed are some of the common signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia. Symptoms can appear in any order. Some may not appear at all.
- Fever, cold hands and feet
- Refusing food and vomiting
- Child looking fretful
- A sleepy child
- Drowsy, floppy, unresponsive
- A pale child
- Rapid breathing or grunting
- Pale, blotchy skin
- Unusual cry, moaning
- Tense, bulging fontanelle (soft spot)
- Stiff neck, dislike bright lights
A rash that does not fade under pressure is a sign of meningococcal septicaemia (meningococcal bacteria can cause meningitis and septicaemia).
People with septicaemia may develop a rash of tiny ‘pin pricks’ which can develop into purple bruising.
DO THE TEST
- Press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin
- Spots/rash may fade at first
- Keep checking
- Fever with spots/rash that do not fade under pressure is a medical emergency
- Do not wait for a rash. If someone is ill and getting worse, get medical help immediately
- On dark skin, the spots/rash can be more difficult to see. Be aware of all the signs and symptoms
Meningitis is a medical emergency and you should seek urgent medical attention. Do not wait for the rash and trust your instincts.
Our partner, Meningitis Now, has a Helpline which you can contact for more information on 0808 80 10 388, via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or on their social media. Meningitis Now also has more information on meningitis, vaccines and after-effects.
I had a meningitis scare with my son Alfie. A few days ago he was showing some signs of meningitis, but I wouldn't have known any of these signs if it wasn't for the hard work Alex did in making people aware. I'd like to say a massive thank you to you on behalf of Alex and his hard work you are carrying on.