Meningitis: What are the Symptoms and Is There a Vaccine?

Meningitis is the inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is often caused by a viral or bacterial infection that enters the bloodstream but may also be caused by other reasons such as injuries or cancer. One of the most common bacteria is meningococcus, which causes meningococcal meningitis among children, teens, and adults.

The early stages of meningitis may resemble flu, so the symptoms will typically include a headache and possibly a high temperature (fever). However, the exact symptoms may vary per case, and the time at which they arise may also differ, so it is important to be aware of the warning signs. Bacterial meningitis symptoms tend to be more severe than those in viral meningitis, so it is best to seek medical attention if you notice anything as early as possible.

Symptoms of Meningitis:-
Symptoms of meningitis and meningococcal disease may include

  • Rashes or spots
  • Vomiting
  • High temperature (fever)
  • Headache
  • Bright Light sensitivity
  • Drowsiness or unresponsiveness
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Pale and blotchy skin
  • Lethargy

The list above only highlights some of the most common symptoms of meningitis, but there can be others depending on your age and health condition. As you may have noticed in the list, some of the symptoms may resemble those of flu. However, the risk with meningitis is that you can never be too sure about the severity based on what you are feeling alone. Thus, if you notice anything amiss and feel any discomfort, it is best to visit your doctor.

The Meningococcal ACWY vaccine provides protection against the meningococcal disease for bacteria strains A, C, W, and Y. One dose will last for approximately five years, and it is highly recommended that children get it as early as possible to avoid getting the disease. There is also the meningococcal B vaccine, which protects against the bacterium strain B, which is offered to babies aged 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 1 year as part of the NHS vaccination schedule.

If you need to book a last-minute appointment for the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine before you travel, you can visit our Travel vaccinations clinic in Epsom. Having a meningitis vaccine booster every five years is crucial to ensure that you are well-protected against the disease. Take charge of your travel health and safety by keeping your elective vaccines up to date.