Meningitis is a serious infection that affects the meninges, which is the membrane of the brain and spinal cord. There are two forms of meningitis: bacterial and viral. Unfortunately, both types can develop from common illnesses. A bacterial or viral infection can begin in one part of the body, and spread to the meninges. If left untreated, bacterial and viral meningitis can be life-threatening. Therefore, it’s vital to recognise the symptoms and seek prompt medical attention.
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Develop flu-like or cold symptoms. Because meningitis develops from a previous infection, most people show signs of flu or cold symptoms. This may include a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat or cough.
Notice a rise in body temperature. Although less serious illnesses such as a cold or mild infection can cause a fever, meningitis causes a sudden high fever that may not respond to over-the-counter medications.
Deal with a persistent headache. In the case of meningitis, the membrane that surrounds the brain becomes inflamed. As a result, persons with bacterial or viral meningitis typically develop a severe headache that persists. Headache may be accompanied with eye pain, sensitivity to light, seizures or confusion.
Determine if you are unable to elevate or move neck. A stiff neck is a telltale sign of meningitis. Once inflammation develops in the spinal cord, it becomes increasingly difficult for sufferers to move their neck or support their head.
Experience muscle weakness and overall discomfort. Meningitis can affect the entire body. Sufferers may deal with muscle weakness, arthritic pain, numbness, abdominal pain or feel a tingling sensation.