What are the signs of meningitis?
Meningitis is a complex illness, and it is unfortunately one that can easily be confused with other, less serious illnesses such as the flu. Due to this. it is extremely important to know the symptoms of meningitis and how the illness progresses, especially if you have children as it can often be fatal if it is not treated early enough. In fact, sometimes meningitis will sometimes follow another illness, which can make diagnosing meningitis even more complicated.
If your child is showing some of the symptoms of meningitis, it is extremely important that you get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible, even if you are not completely sure that it is meningitis that they are suffering from as it is better to be safe than sorry, since 1 in 10 cases of meningitis are fatal and 1 in 3 cases lead to health complications even after the meningitis is treated.
How quickly does meningitis develop?
Both bacterial and viral meningitis symptoms can develop quickly, however bacterial meningitis usually develops faster (hours to days) viral meningitis usually develops over a few days. Even if symptoms do not appear to be developing quickly, it does not mean that the case is less serious, and you should still seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
What are the signs and symptoms?
There are many symptoms of meningitis, which is why it is so easily confused with other illnesses, however the most common ones to look out for are:
- Light sensitivity – Avoiding / hiding from bright lights.
- Nausea / Vomiting
- Drowsiness & Lethargy
- Poor or no appetite
- Mental confusion and disorientation
- Seizures or coma (in more severe cases)
- Bulging soft spot (in infants)
What are the less common signs?
Below are some of the less common signs of meningitis as these signs or symptoms will only appear once the infection has entered the bloodstream:
- Abnormal skin colour or rash which does not fade under pressure. You can use the glass test to check if it is a meningitis rash
- Stomach pain and cramps
- Very cold hands and feet
- Muscle and joint pains
- Rapid breathing
If your child is showing these symptoms, you should take your child to a GP immediately, and if a GP is not available you should take your child to accident & emergency who will be able to run tests to show whether your child is exhibiting these symptoms because of meningitis, or because of another illness.
How is meningitis treated?
The course of treatment for a person suffering from meningitis depends on the type of meningitis that they have. The most common form of meningitis is viral meningitis, which is less serious and generally doesn’t require treatment unless the symptoms become very serious. However, the less common form of meningitis, bacterial meningitis, can be very serious and is normally treated using various intravenous antibiotics.
How can I prevent my child from getting meningitis?
The easiest and best way to prevent your child from getting meningitis is to make sure that they are vaccinated. The vaccines that prevent bacterial and viral meningitis are not the same, so it is important to make sure that they have had the right vaccines to prevent the different forms of meningitis. The NHS website has a page dedicated to different types of meningitis vaccines.
Minton Morrill are a firm of solicitors specialising in meningitis claims who can help you to claim compensation if you or a family member were misdiagnosed or were diagnosed with meningitis too late.