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To make sure that everyone knows the signs of meningitis?

(26 Posts)
MyLittleMiracles Sun 08-Jul-12 00:23:28

And really wanting to check my own knowledge?

Today I visited the grave of a friend who passed away at 13 from meningitis, which was misdiagnosed as measles and was left in a dark room, all alone to recover, of course they never did.

I just realised today how i used to know the symptoms so well and worried that i no longer do. And i would never want any one else to lose a friend or child to this.

WorraLiberty Sun 08-Jul-12 00:25:15

Sorry to hear that

But aren't you going to add any information re the symptoms?

SkipTheLightFanjango Sun 08-Jul-12 00:27:21

Cold feet, very cold often the first symptom.
Stiff neck.
Adverse reaction to light.
Rash, often last symptom.

Johnnydeppsnewmrs Sun 08-Jul-12 00:27:42

Sorry to hear that.
Here is a linky to the Meningitis trust
For us all to be able to brus up our skills.

Johnnydeppsnewmrs Sun 08-Jul-12 00:29:15

In babies they often have a high pitched cry, and tend to not like being held, and arch their backs.
I have seen it just before the rash set in. Scary times, but the baby did well, and they got him sorted very quickly.

DonkeyTeapot Sun 08-Jul-12 00:30:05

I didn't know that about cold feet, thank you for the reminder to be aware of the symptoms.

MyLittleMiracles Sun 08-Jul-12 00:30:41

Headache, sickness, dizzy spells, floppy limbs, did we also realise that the symptoms in a baby are different to that in a teenager?

Sometimes the rash doesnt develop to very late.

Johnnydeppsnewmrs Sun 08-Jul-12 00:30:50

NHS Direct version

DeWe Sun 08-Jul-12 00:31:10

I believe a very quick test is to get the patient to kiss their knee. If they can do that then their neck is flexible enough not to be meninigitis.

However it's not a disease to be played around with so if there's any doubt get it checked even if they can kiss their knee.

One of the most common wrong assumptions is that it can't be meningitis without the rash.
The rash is generally one of the later symptoms, so don't rely on the rash coming out before you get it checked.
However you can get a viral rash which looks the same (my ds gets it when he's ill) so if they're appearing okay but have the rash then it probably isn't. They usually like to do a blood test anyway with the rash as there's other things it can be.

SoleSource Sun 08-Jul-12 00:31:15

In 2005 I had chicken pox then two weeks later, Meningitus when I was 32. Just a gradual muscle pain, back pain, feeling sick, being sick, loose stools. High tempreture. Could hardly move my body. Stiff neck. The pressure in my head was unbelievable. NHS direct said I had the flu. Covered in a rash five minutes after Doctor arrived. Fell into coma for four days. Was able to walk unaided after 12 weeks.Total hearing loss in left ear. I have tinnitus.

sashh Sun 08-Jul-12 05:38:20



If you can put your chin on your chest it's not meningitis

wonkylegs Sun 08-Jul-12 06:59:09

My flatmate in first year at uni had meningitis, she was very lucky. She had just thought she was hungover & had the flu & didn't want to make a fuss so had tucked her self away. Took one look at her and realised that she really wasn't right, called OOH doc, who wasn't helpful & said he'd come out in a couple of hrs. I still wasn't happy so mustered some lads who carried her to the hospital, which was just next door. A&E doc later said if we'd left it even half an hour longer she would have died, she was very very ill. I then had to phone her mum (who I had never met before and tell her she needed to fly over quick)
Joy of joys the next day I started to feel ill too, so took myself off to Gp who by this point was open sent me (to walk) up to the hospital where I was admitted with meningitis too, having a lumber puncture was horrible. In the end the whole infectious diseases ward of the hospital was filled with students from our residences. It was not the way I wanted to get to know everybody at the end of freshers week but thankfully nobody died. Flatmate was extremely ill though and had loss of hearing and balance afterwards, she had to take the year off and restart uni.
I've always been paranoid about it ever since and always highlight the symptoms to anybody going to uni as it's so easy to confuse with hangover & freshers flu that it could easily be missed.

wonkylegs Sun 08-Jul-12 07:00:45

Ps. Hospital docs made a formal complaint about the GP & OOH practices failure to deal with it properly.

maxmissie Sun 08-Jul-12 07:20:16

Definitely don't wait for a rash, if I'd done this then ds would be dead.

He was very sleepy and not really rousable, didn't want milk, moaned every time he was moved and felt very warm to touch but actually didn't have a high temp to start off with. His feet got cold once he was in hospital.

Thanks to a great gp and being kept in hospital as they had no clue what was wrong with him (they thought it was an ear infection) he was diagnosed within less than 24 hrs.

He is now fine.

Bossybritches22 Sun 08-Jul-12 07:39:42

wonky thats a sobering story for any mum with kids about to go off to uni sad

Never hurts to be reminded of the signs, thanks OP.

loopyluna Sun 08-Jul-12 09:35:08

Had a scare with my DS when he was 7. He vomited as soon as he got up in the morning so I kept him home from school but as he seemed fine, ate his lunch and had a school concert that evening, I sent him in after lunch. Teacher called at 2 to say he was asleep in class so I picked him up, put him to bed and made doctor appointment for 7pm. At 5, I opened his curtains and saw him flinch. Took him to A&E.
Junior doctor did all the checks and said he was fine but fortunately paediatrician came into examinating room and double checked his neck (in sitting position when he bowed his head, he said his back hurt.)
Anyway, DS was in for 3 days for obs. Drastic recovery on day 3. A couple of weeks later blood test results confirmed it had been a form of meningitis. He never had a rash.

So basically, his symptoms were :vomitting, fatigue, aversion to light, slightly stiff neck/ back pain.

RuleBritannia Sun 08-Jul-12 09:55:41

I was very lucky with my DS. He was 17 when he was ill and I called our GP who came. Almost immediately after seeing DS, he was on the phone for an ambulance, talking about meningism. He told me that he had not seen a case for 10 years (this is 1980s). It was meningitis but the rash did not appear for another week so don't rely on that for a symptom. Everything's OK now.

NoodleBugs Sun 08-Jul-12 10:45:53

My DS was also very very lucky. He had meningitis at 3 months. His hands and feet were very cold and he had a high temp and wailed constantly. Within a couple of hours he was floppy.

Please don't wait for a rash. My DS didn't have a rash at all. He was lucky not to die.

maxmissie Sun 08-Jul-12 21:27:21

One other symptom for babies/toddlers is a hard fontanelles (the soft bit on the top of their head at the front). With ds it wasn't hard when he was first poorly but then was very hard and swollen by the time the drs realised what was wrong with him.

PoppyWearer Mon 09-Jul-12 03:48:28

I saw this thread earlier but didn't have a chance to comment then.

If you have a smart phone, please download the (free) Meningitis Signs and Synptoms Checker app by the Meningitis Trust.

It was recommended to me on a British Red Cross first aid course and I have referred to it a few times when the DCs have been unwell.

LittleWhiteWolf Mon 09-Jul-12 04:43:05

I have ordered some wallet card symptom checkers.

ddubsgirl Mon 09-Jul-12 05:08:22

dont forget theres different types too bactrial being the worst.

booksandchoc Mon 09-Jul-12 05:41:28

This thread would have helped me on sat night. 5 month DD was rushed to hosp in ambulance after developing a rash (wouldnt go away with glass test) no other symptoms except general grumpiness. If I was more knowledgable I wouldn't have been so terrified thinking it was meningitis. Thank you for this information, it really helps to be aware.

CBear6 Mon 09-Jul-12 10:35:02

I remember the very first time DS (my first child) caught a bug for the first time. The best piece of advice I was given about looking after a SIL child came from my dad: if you're not happy with what's been said by the doctor, kick up a fuss, insist on getting double checked, you know your baby best.

We had a meningitis scare at Easter with then-6mo DD. She was a little bit off which I put down to teething, she was grizzly and a bit out of sorts. That evening she got very ill very quickly. In the space of thirty minutes she went from being a little bit grotty to being too hot to touch, floppy, difficult to rouse, moaning when touched, and she had a febrile convulsion followed by non-stop rigors. We rang OOH en route (they're based at local A&E) who sent us directly to paediatrics on arrival. By this point she was howling, literally howling, and continue to do so for over an hour. They did a lumbar puncture to test for meningitis and it was the longest night of my life watching and waiting (turns out she had a severe UTI, she was in for a week and is having tests ATM to try find out why it was so severe).

I would say that its always best to err on the side of caution and it's far better to be that mother who overreacted than that mother who didn't. We all know our children best and I know I'm not the only one who has that out of hours dilemma of 'is it urgent or can it wait?!' but if there was ever any doubt of whether your child needed to see a doctor, take them to see a doctor and insist they are examined.

crappypatty Mon 09-Jul-12 10:40:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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