Signs and symptoms in children and adults

Meningitis and septicaemia often happen together. Be aware of all the signs and symptoms.

Do not wait for a rash

No, don’t wait for a rash or you could be too late.

Watch each other’s back – if you notice another student is ill and getting worse, call for medical help immediately.

Be responsible for your own health – symptoms can appear in any order or may not appear at all. What to look out for:

Common signs & symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia

  • Adult with a fever

    Fever, cold hands and feet

  • Adult vomiting


  • A sleepy adult

    Drowsy, difficult to wake

  • A confused adult

    Confusion and irritability

  • Adult with severe muscle pain

    Severe muscle pain

  • A pale adult

    Pale, blotchy skin. Spots/rash
    See the Glass Test

  • Adult looking fretful

    Severe headache

  • Adult with stiff neck

    Stiff neck

  • Adult disliking the light

    Dislike bright lights

  • Adult having convulsions


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.

Trust your instincts – Get medical help immediately

Get medical help immediately