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Meningitis symptoms in adults

Meningitis can affect anyone, of any age, at any time; striking in minutes and killing within hours. Knowing the symptoms of the disease, trusting your instincts and getting medical help immediately can save lives.

DO NOT WAIT FOR A RASH. If someone is ill and getting worse, get medical help immediately.

Common signs and symptoms of meningitis & septicaemia.

Symptoms can appear in any order. Some may not appear at all.

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Meningitis and septicaemia often happen together. It is important to be aware of all the signs and symptoms.

If you suspect meningitis or septicaemia, get medical help immediately.

Emergency numbers

Glass test

Meningitis types and causes

Meningitis support

 

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Key meningitis facts

  • Meningitis can strike at any time, regardless of health, gender, age, race or class.
  • People over 55 are at risk of meningitis as our immune systems weaken as we get older.
  • Adults can still suffer the same after-effects from meningitis as children such as brain damage, hearing and sight loss and where septicaemia (blood poisoning) has occurred, loss of limbs and scarring.
  • A survey has shown that one in four adults in the UK knows of someone who has had meningitis.

adults concerned about meningitis

Meningitis at risk group – over 55s

  • As our immune system weakens as we get older, we are more susceptible to illnesses, such as meningitis.
  • With the over 55 population being at risk of meningitis, they are offered a pneumococcal vaccine at 65. This is available at any GP surgery or health centre across the UK.
  • Look out for yourself and others. Meningitis symptoms can disguise themselves as a common cold or flu, so it’s important to remain vigilant to the symptoms of meningitis, trust your instincts and seek medical help if concerned.
  • If living alone always let someone know if you are feeling unwell, they can check on you and get help if needed.

Find out more about vaccines

Need more information on meningitis?

Speak to experienced staff on our freephone helpline, 0808 80 10 388, or you can email us at [email protected] and we will come back to you as soon as we can.

Download and print signs and symptoms

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Meningitis Now is the new name for Meningitis UK and the Meningitis Trust. Our goals remain the same – saving lives and rebuilding futures.

Find out more

The glass test

A rash that does not fade under pressure is a sign of meningococcal septicaemia and is a medical emergency.
Read more.

Medical emergency?


Are you worried that you or someone may have meningitis? Trust your instincts.

Get urgent medical attention

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You can now keep the Meningitis Now signs and symptoms card on your iPhone. Life-saving information at your fingertips

See the meningitis app

Online meningitis community

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Talk with others who have had meningitis experiences

Visit HealthUnlocked

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