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The Signs and Symptoms of Meningitis

Unfortunately, it can be fairly easy to confuse the earlier signs and symptoms of meningitis for those of the flu (influenza). Viral and bacterial meningitis can develop over the course of just a few hours or a couple days in anyone over the age of 2. However, there are even better vaccinations being developed in our meningitis vaccine clinical trials in DeLand, FL.

The most common signs of meningitis include:

  • Stiff neck
  • High fever
  • Severe headache which is unlike other types of headaches
  • Vomiting or nausea couple with a headache
  • Difficulty concentrating or confusion – for children, this could present as difficulty maintaining eye contact
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Lack of appetite or thirst
  • Skin rash (in cases of meningococcal or viral meningitis)

Meningitis Symptoms in Newborns

Meningitis may not produce the same symptoms in newborns and infants as they do for older patients. Instead of the classic symptoms like stiff neck and headache, the signs of meningitis for this age group can include:

  • Constant crying
  • High fever
  • Inactivity or sluggishness
  • Excessive sleepiness or irritability
  • Poor feeding habits
  • Unusual bulge in the soft spot on top of the infant’s head (fontanel)
  • Seizures
  • Stiffness in an infant’s body and neck

If a newborn contracts meningitis, they will be much more difficult to comfort. Often times, they will cry even harder when they are picked up and cradled.

When to Seek Additional Medical Attention

If you or a loved one does have meningitis, then please do not hesitate to seek medical care, as this disease can be life-threatening. If anyone in your family presents with the following symptoms, action must be taken:

  • Severe, unrelenting headache
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion

It is very important that you seek medical care if you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, because you will not be able to tell what kind of meningitis that you or your child has otherwise. Once you make it to the doctor’s office, then you will undergo spinal fluid testing.

  • Viral meningitis may get better without the help of treatment in a few days.
  • On the other hand, bacterial meningitis is a completely different animal. It can develop rapidly, and patients will require immediate antibiotic treatment in order to prevent further complications. If this is not done promptly, bacterial meningitis can cause permanent brain damage or death. Many cases of bacterial meningitis have proven to be fatal within a matter of days.

Be sure to talk to your doctor if you believe a family member or colleague has meningitis. In those circumstances, you may require additional medications in order to protect yourself from an infection which can cause meningitis.