When we are sick, it is really common to mistake our symptoms with the flu. For instance, the symptoms of meningitis include headaches and high fever, so we can easily assume that its a common cold. And especially in cases like bacterial meningitis, early treatment can prevent serious complications and potentially even save one’s life.
The most common causes of meningitis are a viral, bacterial and fungal infection. In some cases, the condition improves in a few weeks even without treatment, while others can be life-threatening and require antibiotic treatment.
As we previously mentioned, the early meningitis symptoms may mimic the flu. However, symptoms might develop over few hours or over a few days. If you suspect that you might be suffering from it, the following symptoms, courtesy of Providr, will be noticed:
You can usually get a stiff neck if you are sleeping in an awkward position or use the computer for a prolonged period of time. But, the people suffering from meningitis will get stiff neck as a result of the inflammation spurs from the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. If you start having a sudden fever or a headache in addition to that pain, you may be having meningitis.
If you are having a cold, this could develop into viral meningitis, which is not potentially harmful to your health.
However, you should get medical advice if you do experience an unexplained stiffness in your neck.
Another symptom is sudden a high temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or above. If you have developed meningitis, you will experience a fever lasting from three to seven days.
However, this one is not a very common symptom. Only 44% of the patients would have it, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians. Because of this, self-diagnosing is really difficult, so it would be better to go and see your doctor.
This is another really common symptom. Every day, millions of people are having a headache and in most of the cases, it is nothing serious so they treat themselves with some painkillers. However, the severe meningitis headache which lasts longer is caused by an inflammation of the membranes that surround your neck and spinal cord.
It is crucial to identify the type of a headache you are having. If you have meningitis, it won’t be the same as a normal headache, of course, and it won’t go away by taking an Aspirin.
As we previously mentioned, meningitis causes swelling of the brain’s membranes. And because of this, you might be unable to focus or will start having insomnia, dizziness or memory loss.
When it comes to confusion, it can present itself in various ways. It can be a case of disorientation, where one might have trouble discerning what is real and what is a dream.
5. Sensitivity to light
Meningitis is known to cause dramatical light sensitivity which causes squinting and blurry vision.
If you are suffering from meningitis, the optic nerve that transmits visual information from the retina to the brain will swell and make you see things blurry. Usually, the swelling goes away after a while, but in more serious cases it might result in partial or full blindness.
The first signs of meningitis are vomiting and nausea. With the infection moving through your body, your stomach will get upset and you will probably lose your appetite. This usually results in weight loss.
People with weak immune systems have bigger chances of catching the infection. Also, the symptoms for them might be more severe since their immune system will have difficulties fighting it.
The red pinpricks on your skin that are spreading quickly and look like a rash might be a sign of meningitis. Babies and toddlers develop this rash when the bacteria causing the serious infection spreads through the bloodstream and releases poisons.
If you are suspecting a rash might be a sign of meningitis, get a glass and press it on it. If the marks stay the same and you can see them clearly through the glass, call your doctor right away.
8. Loss of appetite
This rare but serious bacterial infection also affects the digestive system. Because of the constant vomiting, you might start avoiding food which will lead to weight loss.
However, your body needs the nutrients that food provides to fight off the infection. In worse case scenarios, people go to a hospital to be put on intravenous so they can stay hydrated.