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Thursday, 19 November 2009

Meningitis Symptoms
Q: What are these symptoms of Swine Flu and Meningitis that are similar?
ANS: high temperature, vomiting, headache as well as pain in limbs and joints.

Blotchy skin, getting paler or turning blue
Cold hands and feet
Severe limb/ joint pain
Stiff neck
Dislike of bright lights
Non-blanching rash (Septicaemia)

* More irritable/ tired/ sleepy
* Severe headaches
* Quicker deterioration
* Dislike of bright lights
* Rash (Septicaemia)
******* Cold hands and feet

Dr Denis Gill, Meiningitis Trust
Q What exactly is meningitis?

Meningitis means inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord.. They can be caused by lots of different germs, mainly bacteria or viruses.
There are two main types:
bacterial meningitis and viral meningitis.

Viral meningitis is painful, but it is not usually dangerous. Bacterial meningitis can also be combined with Septicaemia - Septicaemia is blood poisoning and can be very dangerous and can come on very quickly.

How many people will bacterial meningitis will also have Septicaemia?

Septicaemia will occur in about 10 % of people who have meningitis, and this is a danger area that people should look our for.. Bacterial meningitis does not cause the rash, the rash is caused by the Septicaemia.
Q How do people get it (meningitis)?
Sometimes it is just bad luck.. In the case of bacterial meningitis, this might happen after the person has had some kind of virus, as bacterial infections tend to follow a virus and they can hit people when they are down.
How many people in Ireland will get meningitis?
About 250 people in Ireland will get bacterial meningitis and we don't have definite figures for viral, but they cases of viral meningitis would be higher

Q Delayed diagnosis of meningitis coupled with the rapid progress of the disease can be fatal - meningitis can kill in hours, why is this? (One in 10 people who contract meningitis will die compared to a one in 2,500 fatality rate for swine flu. Figure from Meningitis UK)
Q It has been said that if swine flu cases increase, there could be more cases of meningitis and septicemia this winter is this the case?
I would say that this would be the case.. we would not have a massive increase in the number of cases, but as noted earlier, if people have a virus, the bacteria infections tend to follow the virus..

Q Spotting meningitis symptoms early can save lives.
If a parent feels that their son/daughter may have meningitis, they are often told to look out for the Red Flag early warning symptoms - What are the symptoms or Red Flag Areas?
ANS: Cold hands and feet,
Severe pain in the limbs and joints, and pale or mottled skin,
As well as the 'classic' symptoms like a non-blanching rash, stiff neck and dislike of bright lights.
Meningitis tends to make babies very ill.. How at risk are babies?
Babies are the most at risk and a baby between the age of 6 months and 12 months is probably the age where parents should look out for.. This is because babies at this age tend to lie down and say nothing. and a parent might not be able know if their baby might be in any kind of trouble..

What should you do if you are worried about your baby?
Basically, if a parent notices any of the red flag symptoms than they should go directly to their GP especially if they notice a rash..
The worst thing that a parent can do is put their child to bed because the septicaemia can be dangerous if it gets into the system of a baby overnight.