How to Identify Symptoms of Meningitis

Written by valencia higuera
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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.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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.

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