How do adults rule out meningitis?

A definitive diagnosis of meningitis requires a spinal tap to collect cerebrospinal fluid. In people with meningitis, the fluid often shows a low sugar level along with an increased white blood cell count and increased protein. Analyzing the fluid also may help identify which bacterium caused the meningitis.

How do adults know if they have meningitis?

Sleepiness or trouble waking. Sensitivity to light. No appetite or thirst. Skin rash in some cases, such as in meningococcal meningitis.

How do I check myself for meningitis?

Gently and slowly push on the back of your neck so that your head moves forward. For better results, have someone do this for you. Note if your hips and knees flex involuntarily as you raise your head. This is a positive Brudzinski sign, meaning that you may have meningitis.

What does meningitis look like in adults?

pale, mottled or blotchy skin (this may be harder to see on brown or black skin) spots or a rash (this may be harder to see on brown or black skin) headache. a stiff neck.

How do adults get tested for meningitis at home?

The meningitis glass test
  1. Press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin.
  2. Spots/rash may fade at first.
  3. Keep checking.
  4. Fever with spots/rash that do not fade under pressure is a medical emergency.
  5. Do not wait for a rash. If someone is ill and getting worse, get medical help immediately.

Natasha's Viral Meningitis Story | Meningitis Now

When should you suspect meningitis?

Symptoms of meningitis

a high temperature (fever) over 37.5C (99.5F) being sick. a headache. a blotchy rash that doesn't fade when a glass is rolled over it (this won't always develop)

What does meningitis stiff neck feel like?

Meningitis neck pain may feel like severe stiffness when you try to turn your neck or bend you neck forward. It may also feel like a deep, throbbing pain that extends from the bottom of your skull down into your upper back.

Is it obvious if you have meningitis?

Early symptoms can include:

Fever, headache, vomiting, muscle pain and fever with cold hands and feet. Someone with meningitis or septicaemia can get a lot worse very quickly. Keep checking them.

Can you fight off meningitis by yourself?

Viral meningitis (when meningitis is caused by a virus) is the most common type of meningitis. Most people get better on their own without treatment. However, anyone with symptoms of meningitis should see a doctor right away because any type of meningitis can be serious.

What are 5 signs of bacterial meningitis?

The most common symptoms of bacterial meningitis are:
  • Painful, stiff neck with limited range of motion.
  • Headaches.
  • High fever.
  • Feeling confused or sleepy.
  • Bruising easily all over the body.
  • A rash on the skin.
  • Sensitivity to light.

What does early meningitis feel like?

The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion.

What are 3 common symptoms of meningitis?

Overview. Classic symptoms of meningitis in adults are fever, headache and neck stiffness, but not everyone has every symptom. Newborns and babies may instead vomit, act fussy, not eat well, lack energy and be difficult to wake up.

How long does meningitis take to develop in adults?

Typically, symptoms of bacterial meningitis develop within 3 to 7 days after exposure; note, this is not true for TB meningitis, which can develop much later after exposure to the bacteria. People with bacterial meningitis can have seizures, go into a coma, and even die.

What is the survival rate of meningitis in adults?

Even with appropriate treatment, the death rate from bacterial meningitis is about 15-20%, with a higher death rate associated with increasing age.

Where is the headache located with meningitis?

The headache is generalized all over the head. Drowsiness and confusion may be present in the more severe cases. Seizures are rare in meningitis, but common in encephalitis which is an infection of the brain tissue. The onset of the headache and fever usually occurs quite rapidly.

How long can meningitis go undiagnosed?

Occasionally, chronic meningitis persists for months or even years, but no organisms are identified, and death does not result. This type of meningitis is called chronic idiopathic meningitis. Treatment with antifungal drugs or corticosteroids does not help.

Does stiff neck mean meningitis?

6. Stiff neck. Pain and stiffness in the neck, which healthcare professionals call Brudzinski sign, are a common indication of meningitis. They result from inflammation in the spinal cord.

Can you have meningitis without a fever?

Symptoms of Viral Meningitis

Viral meningitis usually begins with symptoms of a viral infection, such as fever, a general feeling of illness (malaise), cough, muscle aches, vomiting, loss of appetite, and headache. However, occasionally, people have no symptoms at first.

Does meningitis headache go away with ibuprofen?

Over-the-Counter Medications

Similarly, if your child has meningitis, pain medications and anti-inflammatory treatments, at the doses recommended for children, can provide some relief as your child recovers. Several medications, including ibuprofen and naproxen, can help relieve pain.

How do you rule out bacterial meningitis?

How is bacterial meningitis diagnosed? To diagnose this condition, a healthcare provider will do a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) to take a sample of fluid from around the spinal cord. The fluid is then tested for bacteria. The provider will also ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam.

What does a headache from meningitis feel like?


This is due to inflammation in the meninges, which are the membranes surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. The inflammation can result in significant pain. The headache tends to start quickly and affect the whole head, rather than focusing on one location. This headache can resemble a migraine headache.

What are early symptoms of bacterial meningitis?

Common signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia
  • Fever with cold hands and feet.
  • Vomiting.
  • Drowsy or difficult to wake.
  • Confusion and irritability.
  • Severe muscle pain.
  • Pale blotchy skin, spots or rash (See Glass Test (link))
  • Severe headache.
  • Stiff neck.

What are the classic indicative symptoms of bacterial meningitis?

In a large prospective study of 696 cases of adults with bacterial meningitis, van de Beek et al reported that 95% of the patients had two of the following four symptoms: fever, headache, stiff neck, and altered mental status. Other symptoms can include the following: Nausea. Vomiting.

Is white count elevated with meningitis?

* In most cases of viral meningitis, the CSF WBC is within the range of 10 to 500 cells/microL, though higher values can be seen with some viruses. Normal CSF WBC counts can be seen in enteroviral meningitis, particularly in young infants.

Where is meningitis neck pain felt?

Meningitis neck pain feels different. It gets worse when you stretch, and can involve more than just your neck and shoulder area. "Moving the neck up or down stretches the inflamed tissues of the meninges, which causes an intense, deep pain that may extend into the head or down the back," says Even.