How meningitis can affect you

Surviving meningitis is not the end. The true impact of this disease can change lives forever. Many people will make a good recovery, however others aren’t so lucky. After-effects appear in many forms 

Fight for now

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

A change to physical appearance is not the only way meningitis can alter lives.

Severe brain damage after meningitis and septicaemia is not common and will usually be obvious soon after becoming ill. More subtle changes can progress over months, or even years, affecting brain development.

Complications of an ABI can include: epilepsy, cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, movement and co-ordination issues, headaches and fatigue.

Babies and young children are particularly at risk of developing learning and behavioural changes as a result of meningitis. These are often short-term however long term problems, such as aggression and personality changes, are often associated with ABI.

See our fact sheet for more information on ABI’s

Hearing loss  

This is the most common after-effect of meningitis and can occur in varying degrees. Hearing loss may not be immediately obvious so it’s important to have a hearing test soon after contracting the disease.

There are many organisations that can help with hearing loss. Contact us to find out what help is available.

Emotional changes

No matter what the outcome of meningitis, your emotions are likely to take a big hit. Going through this disease is traumatic and everyone will respond differently. It is common for people to experience a range of feelings, like anger, depression, isolation, anxiety, low self-esteem, aggression, mood swings and a difficulty in expressing emotions.

There is no easy fix but support, patience and understanding is often the best way forward. Just being there for the bad times as a shoulder to lean on can make the world of difference. 

Sight problems

Changes in sight can be a permanent or temporary effect of meningitis. Damage to the optic nerve can result in partial sight loss or blindness in one or both eyes. Swelling of optic nerves can produce temporary eyesight difficulties. If you find you’re having difficulties with you vision following meningitis, contact you GP.

There are many organisations that can help with sight problems. Contact us to find out what help is available.

How can we help?

Are you suffering the effects of meningitis and need some advice? Are you worried about returning to education or work? Don’t suffer in silence – call our helpline on 0808 80 10 388 for a chat to our experienced staff and find out how we can support you.