LIFESTYLE

Meningitis Symptoms: The Warning Signs And What To Do Next

26/08/2014 09:32 BST | Updated 26/08/2014 09:59 BST

Meningitis is an illness we usually associate with children - this makes sense as it is most common in those under the age of five.

But that doesn't mean we should forget that anyone at any age can suffer from the illness - it's also important to know the signs and symptoms of the meningitis in adulthood, even if you don't have kids.

According to the NHS, meningitis is "an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.

"This infection causes these membranes (the meninges) to become inflamed, which in some cases can damage the nerves and brain."

meningitis

There are two types of meningitis: the first is bacterial meningitis which is caused by bacteria and through close contact. The second is viral meningitis which is caused by viruses that can be spread through coughing, sneezing and poor hygiene.

If you notice you're suffering from the symptoms of meningitis, you should not hesitate to seek medical help.

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Meningitis Symptoms

According to the Meningitis Research Foundation, an estimated 3,200 people get bacterial meningitis and associated septicaemia in the UK each year.

If bacterial meningitis is left untreated it can cause brain damage, blood infection and even death, which is why recognising the symptoms early is essential.

Thankfully though, the NHS say treating meningitis has drastically improved in the past few decades.

Viral meningitis usually gets better within a couple of weeks with plenty of rest and painkillers while most cases of bacterial meningitis can be treated in hospital without complications if spotted early.

If you have any concerns, contact your GP.