Back to Meningitis. Symptoms of meningitis can appear in any order. Some may not appear at all. In the early stages, there may not be a rash, or the rash may fade on pressure. If a rash does not fade under a glass, it can be a sign of sepsis sometimes called septicaemia or blood poisoning caused by meningitis and you should call straight away. Page last reviewed: 08 March Next review due: 08 March
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The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion. Septicaemia can occur with or without meningitis. Not everyone gets all the symptoms and they can appear in any order. Red ticks show symptoms more specific to meningitis and septicaemia and less common in milder illnesses.
Meningitis is when the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord meninges become infected. It can be caused by bacteria or viruses. Meningitis is very serious, and can cause death. If you have symptoms of meningitis, get treatment immediately. A doctor is the only person who can make a diagnosis to determine if meningitis is viral or bacterial. Meningitis is sometimes difficult to diagnose. Your doctor may order several tests or seek specialist advice.
DO NOT wait for a rash. If an adult is ill and getting worse, get medical help immediately. Pale, blotchy skin. The study also highlights that three-quarters of this age group are not confident in recognising the signs and symptoms of the disease. That's why we're calling on people over 65 to learn the signs and symptoms to help look after themselves and their loved ones. Without vaccines for all types of meningitis, remaining vigilant is vital. You can download an awareness guide that includes the signs and symptoms of meningitis and information about meningitis in adults. We are also looking for people over 65 who have had meningitis to share their story, to help raise awareness.