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The First Aid Team
by First Aid Team


Continuing on from my article about Sepsis, some forms of Meningitis develop from Sepsis all depending on the original form of infection and many of the signs and symptoms we associate with Meningitis are common to Sepsis

The key point is that whichever one it is urgent medical treatment is required.

In broad terms, there are two forms of Meningitis, bacterial & viral. In general, bacterial is more dangerous than viral but whichever form someone has, the effects can be life altering and, indeed, life threatening with some 10% of people who get bacterial Meningitis dying and between 30% and 50% suffering life-long after effects.

Meningitis can affect anyone; it is no respecter of age lifestyle, health, gender or ethnicity although there are some ‘at risk’ groups which are at greater risk of contacting the disease, typically 0-5, 15-24 & over 65s

Some forms of viral Meningitis do have vaccines available these being Meningitis B, C & a combination ACWY vaccine but with some 19 versions alone of viral Meningitis there is still someway to go before there is a full range available. It is worth noting that vaccines such as the MMR and others reduce the incidence of common routes to this illness.

If you suspect someone has either Sepsis or Meningitis you must act quickly as it can be fatal in a matter of hours in some cases; this is not the time to seek a GP appointment but either a 999 call or a trip to the nearest Accident & Emergency Department is required.

In its early stages, Meningitis can be confused with the beginnings of illness such as flu.

Signs & symptoms of Meningitis are:

In the early stages

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle pain
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever with cold hands and feet

As the condition develops

  • Fever with cold hands and feet
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsy or difficult to wake
  • Confusion and irritability
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Pale, blotchy skin, spots or rash that doesn’t fade when a clear glass is rolled over it
  • Severe headache
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Stiff neck
  • Convulsions or seizure

These arrive in no particular order and do not all have to be present. If you have the slightest concern that it may be Meningitis or Sepsis then you must seek immediate medical attention.

For more information about Meningitis and Sepsis then you can find this on either the Meningitis Now website by clicking here or the NHS website by clicking here

Infection and Sepsis is dealt with in more details on both our Emergency First Aid at Work courses and, along with Meningitis on our full First Aid at Work courses. More details of our courses and how to book them can be found on our website by clicking here

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