Spotting the signs of meningitis

The symptoms to look out for - at every age

Spotting the signs of meningitis

Although meningitis is a rare disease, it can be life-threatening and is sometimes very difficult to diagnose.  Doctors recommend that parents trust their gut instincts if they suspect meningitis, and familiarise themselves with the symptoms to watch out for at different ages.


Newborns and older babies

  • High temperature or shivering
  • Over tiredness and vacant expression
  • Diarrhoea
  • Blotchy, pale or blueish tinge to skin
  • Pin prick rash or purple bruising
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Tense or bulging soft spot
  • Restlessness or irritability that could be caused by joint pain
  • Stiff, jerky movements or floppy limbs when picked up

Toddlers and pre-schoolers

  • Feverishness
  • Vomiting
  • Severe Headache
  • Confusion/deliriousness
  • Rash anywhere on the body
  • Stiff neck
  • Aversion to bright lights
  • Seizures

For more information visit the Meningitis Research Foundation