Three of the most searched for terms on the NHS website relate to meningitis

8th February 2023

Most parents would confess to searching the internet to explain their child’s latest cough or cold but, in some cases, finding out more about your child’s symptoms could save their life

Three of the most searched for terms on the NHS website relate to meningitis

The NHS website gets millions of hits a year; half of the searches last year related to childhood illness. The top search for 2022 was Coronavirus, but three more within the top ten searches can be linked to meningitis. 

Nearly 3 million people used the NHS website to learn more about childhood rashes last year. Searches for childhood fevers were also up, and scarlet fever had seven times the number of clicks than in 2021.

Causes of rashes

It is clear from the latest NHS search figures that information about childhood rashes were top of parents’ minds last year, perhaps unsurprising with the rise of cases of scarlet fever, which causes a rash that feels like sandpaper.

Scarlet fever usually clears up with antibiotics but, in some rare cases and if left untreated, can result in meningitis.

Glass test

Many parents are also aware that a rash can be a sign of meningitis thanks to health campaigns that have made the use of the ‘glass test’ popular. 

The ‘glass test’ is when a clear glass is pressed on a rash and, if the rash doesn’t disappear, it is deemed a medical emergency. The ‘meningitis glass test’ is the top most visited page on Meningitis Now’s website. 

Don’t wait for a rash

It is very important that parents do not wait to see a rash before seeking medical help if their child is poorly and getting worse. 

A rash is often a late sign of meningococcal bacteria spreading through the body, and can cause severe complications and even death in a short space of time. 

There are other early signs of meningitis that parents should look out for including:

  • fever with cold hands and feet
  • joint or muscle pain
  • rapid breathing
  • stomach cramps and diarrhoea

Knowing the signs and symptoms of meningitis is vitally important in keeping everyone safe, especially young children who can’t verbalise their symptoms.

If you are worried about spotting the symptoms in time, Meningitis Now can help you. Download mobile optimised signs and symptoms information to your phone, or request a free signs and symptoms card by calling our Meningitis Now Helpline on 0808 80 10 388.

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