Meningitis symptoms in children

Find out meningitis symptoms in children here. Meningitis and septicaemia can happen together, and if you are unsure about the condition of your child be sure to seek medical help immediately

Signs and symptoms of meningitis - children and adults

DO NOT wait for a rash. If a child is ill and getting worse, get medical help immediately.

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

Common signs & symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia in children.

  • 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

Find out more about meningitis, as well as the symptoms in this short video:

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