In order to receive medical attention for meningitis or septicaemia it’s obviously necessary to be in contact with medical professionals. The symptoms for meningitis unfortunately have an overlap with symptoms for the common flu. The better the general knowledge with respect to the symptoms, the faster contact can be made to medical professionals and thus earlier treatment and better prognosis.

In a study published in British Journal of General Practice march 2011, Haj-Hassan writes there are 5 symptoms with a positive correlation with meningococcal infection among the 1,212 examined under-16s, which obviously overlap but are not identical with the established or traditional symptoms.

Symptoms to look out for

High temperature (Meningitis & septicaemia)
Typically between 39-40 °C.
Note, that late during septicaemia temperature drops, even below 37 °C, without the condition of the patient improving.
Also be aware that taking Paracetamol will lower the temperature.
Nausea/vomiting (Meningitis & septicaemia)
Not necessarily consistent. Hans had a period lasting 1 hour, 24 hours before death, where he vomited 2-3 times and after that, did not vomit any more.

Severe and consistent headache (Meningitis)
Patient can describe as migraine or the worse headache ever. Possibly localised to back of the head.

Stiff neck(Meningitis)
One of the most famous signs of meningitis is stiff neck, observed as reduced mobility of the neck. It will hurt if you attempt to bow the neck down towards the chest. Rarely seen with babies 0-2 years old and never occurred with Hans The symptom is number 5 on the list from British Journal of General Practice.

Confused/delirious (Meningitis & septicaemia)
The whole body is working overtime fighting meningitis. All energy is being used in the fight, and thus a patient with meningitis can aappear confused or delirious. Only occured with one of the 3 boys (M) and only very very late in the day. This symptom, in spite of the three above cases, appear as symptom number one in the list from British Journal of General Practice.

Limb/joint/muscle pain (Septicaemia)
Pain all over the body, and particularly in the legs. Greater pain than just flu-ache. The pain, åarticularly in the legs, can be so severe they restrict movement. leg-pains are symptom number two in the list from British Journal of General Practice.

 Dislike of bright light – photophobia (Meningitis)
Dislike of bright light, can be a symptom of meningitis. Rarely seen with younger children.
Ubehag ved kraftig lys, kan være tegn på meningitis. Ses sjældent hos små børn. Symptom is number three in the list from British Journal of General Practice.

Pale or mottled skin (Septicaemia)
Combined with other symptoms, pale skin can indicate septicaemia brought on by meningococcal infection. The body is using all its energy on the vital organs, and the blood and colour therefor disappear from the skin.

 Sleepy/difficult to wake(Meningitis & septicaemia)
Patient is typically very drowsy when infected by meningitis and feels so poorly even food, drink and human contact feels too great a task and will be ignored. Patiant wants to sleep and appears to be suffering.

Cold hands and feet (Septicaemia)
If the patient has a high temperature at the same time as cold hands and feet, this could indicate bacteria in the bloodstream.

Seizures (Meningitis)
Seizures occur frequently in adults with  bacterial meningitis. Seizures are associated with severe central nervous system inflammation and the high associated mortality rate warrants a low threshold for starting anticonvulsant therapy in those with clinical suspicion of a seizure.

Rash (Septicaemia)
A skin rash, which is essential for recognizing septicaemia, is a characteristic manifestation. The skin rash may advance from a few ill-defined lesions to a widespread petechial eruption within a few hours. Septicaemia’s potential rapidity of progression cannot be stressed enough.
Press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin. Spots/rash may fade at first. Keep checking. Fever with spots/rash that do not fade under pressure is a medical emergency.
Do not wait for a rash. If someone is ill and getting worse, get medical help immediately.
Symptom is number four in the list from British Journal of General Practice.


Hyperventilation & breathing difficulty (Septicaemia)
Hyperventialation, grunting and breathing difficulty can indicate the onset of septicaemia.

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