Symptoms of Meningitis

It is important that you are able to recognize the signs and symptoms of meningitis because they are very subtle and it would require some amount of awareness and attention. In the initial stages, you are likely to confuse the symptoms of meningitis with those of the flu because they are quite similar. The signs and symptoms of meningitis are mentioned below.

In Adults:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • High fever
  • Cold palms and feet
In Babies:

  • As the caregiver, you might notice that it has become difficult to rouse the baby from slumber despite repeated efforts.
  • The fontanelle of your baby may appear to be bulgy.
  • Listless, floppy or stiff jerky movements made by the baby.
  • Your baby’s cry changes to a high pitched, whiny cry.
  • If your baby suddenly starts refusing feeds, this could be indicative of a problem.
  • Strange, arrhythmic breathing could be yet another sign that everything is not well with your baby.
  • Your baby’s skin appears pale and blotchy and has some unusual red spots that do not fade when pressure is applied.
In Older Children:

  • Very cold hands and feet
  • A stiff neck hurts when bent towards the chest
  • Delirious talk
  • Confused and babbled speech
  • Shivering and fever
  • Increased breathing
  • Intolerance to bright lights
  • Extremely painful headache
  • The emergence of red or purple spots that do not fade when pressure is applied.

Frequently asked questions
  1. Justine Miranda, Allan R. Tunkel, Strategies and New Developments in the Management of Bacterial Meningitis, Infectious Disease Clinics of North America, Volume 23, Issue 4, December 2009, Pages 925-943, ISSN 0891-5520, 10.1016/j.idc.2009.06.014.
  2. Charles S Bryan, Kenneth L Reynolds, Linda Crout, Promptness of antibiotic therapy in acute bacterial meningitis, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Volume 15, Issue 5, May 1986, Pages 544-547, ISSN 0196-0644, 10.1016/S0196-0644(86)80990-8.
  3. Swati Waghdhare, Ashwini Kalantri, Rajnish Joshi, Shriprakash Kalantri, Accuracy of physical signs for detecting meningitis: A hospital-based diagnostic accuracy study, Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery, Volume 112, Issue 9, November 2010, Pages 752-757, ISSN 0303-8467, 10.1016/j.clineuro.2010.06.003.