Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meningitis - Symptoms

For information: Symptoms of bacterial meningitis usually appear suddenly. Symptoms of viral meningitis may appear suddenly or develop gradually over a period of days. For example, the symptoms of viral meningitis after mumps may take several days or weeks to develop.

The most common symptoms of either form of meningitis include:

* Fever.
* Severe and persistent headache.
* Stiff and painful neck, especially when trying to touch the chin to the chest.
* Vomiting.
* Confusion and decreased level of consciousness.
* Seizures.

Other symptoms of meningitis include:

* Sluggishness, muscle aches and weakness, and strange feelings (such as
tingling) or weakness throughout the body.
* Eye sensitivity and eye pain from bright lights.
* Skin rash.
* Dizzy spells.

The incubation period-the time from exposure to the infection to when the first symptoms develop-depends on the type of organism causing the infection.

Babies, young children, older adults, and people with other medical conditions may not have the usual symptoms of meningitis.

* In babies, the signs of meningitis may be a fever, irritability that is
difficult to calm, decreased appetite, rash, vomiting, and a shrill cry.
Babies also may have bulging soft spots on their heads that are not caused by
crying, and a stiff body. Babies with meningitis may cry when handled.
* Young children with meningitis may act like they have the flu (influenza),
cough, or have trouble breathing.
* Older adults and people with other medical conditions may have only a slight
headache and fever. They may not feel well and may have little energy.

Other conditions with similar symptoms to meningitis include viral hepatitis and
flu.

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