It may not just be 'man-flu'

16th June 2016

Did you know that teenagers, young people and the over 55s are particularly at risk of contracting meningitis? 

Men's Health Week 2016 - Andy G

According to the Men’s Health Forum, men are much less likely to seek medical help and have a lower awareness of their health overall.

Many people think meningitis only affects babies and children and so men of all ages, may not recognise the symptoms.

A fever, vomiting, muscle pains, drowsiness and a headache are all early signs of meningitis, but could easily be mistaken as a bout of the flu.

Other early symptoms include confusion and irritability, severe muscle pain, pale blotchy skin, a stiff neck, an aversion to bright lights and convulsions.  A rash which does not fade under pressure is often a late symptom. If and when it appears it could be too late, so if you have any concerns seek medical help immediately.

The consequences of meningitis can be devastating, so make sure you or the men and boys you care for, know what to look out for.

Linda’s husband Andy was a fit and healthy 63 year old when he contracted and tragically died from pneumococcal meningitis.

“When he woke up he was feeling terrible and had a headache, which he never had. He couldn't eat much, was cold one minute and then sweating the next."

“I rang the NHS helpline with lots of questions. They asked me to put the phone to his ear to talk to him, but he was delirious and couldn't talk or hear."

“A paramedic came and tried putting a drip in his arm but couldn't."

“They stretchered him down to the ambulance and I went in the front with the driver. He had two fits and then was in a coma by the time we got to Derby hospital."

“Andy never regained consciousness again. This was about 11pm. It was not until 7am I was told he had meningitis. He had tests done to confirm he was brain dead."

The earliest signs of meningitis can easily be mistaken for the flu or even a hangover – but can have fatal consequences.  

We would always advise that if you are at all concerned that it could be meningitis or septicaemia, seek medical advice and trust your instincts.

To make sure you always have our signs and symptoms information to hand – why not download our free mobile app here, or request some free signs and symptoms cards to share with friends and family.