Meningitis is a rare but serious disease that can have devastating consequences. It can be caused by lots of different bacteria and viruses, but it’s bacterial meningitis that kills more UK children under five than any other infectious disease.
And it’s not just young children at risk—babies, toddlers, teenagers and young adults are at higher risk than other ages.
It’s also not that easy to spot. To have the best fighting chance, follow the ABC of meningitis prevention:
Act fast: Trust your instincts and act fast when you see the early signs. Early signs include: cold hands and feet, vomiting, fever, headache and muscle ache. In really young children, unusual crying, drowsiness or floppiness, refusing feeding and a tense or bulging fontanelle (soft spot) may also be signs. A rash that doesn’t disappear when a glass is rolled over it may sometimes appear—but not always. Acting quickly is crucial, as by this point it could be really serious.
Basic hygiene: Washing hands carefully before eating, after handling animals or spending time in crowded places, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing and avoiding sharing of drinks, food, straws, lip balms and toothbrushes can reduce your risk of getting meningitis.
Consider vaccination: There’s not one single vaccine that protects against meningitis. Some vaccinations that protect against meningitis are offered by the NHS but will be age determined. Make sure keep up to date with vaccinations and consider additional vaccinations that may be available.
Get more information and be #VsMeningitis at www.tacklemeningitis.org