Watch out for an unwanted winter guest

16th November 2015

Winter is certainly here! The clocks are firmly set back, the evenings are darker, it’s cold, it’s wet and a night in snuggled-up on the sofa calls

Meningitis Winter
This ‘invitation’ of extra indoor chill time can also bring an unwelcome guest….meningitis.

With cases of this killer disease peaking between October and March, we are warning people to stay vigilant to the signs and symptoms of the disease. 

The population naturally goes into hibernation mode at this time of year, therefore spend more time indoors, getting ‘up close and personal’ with friends and family, meaning germs are spread more easily. As it’s also that time of year when everyone’s suffering with miserable colds and flu, our immune systems are usually lower, meaning knowledge of the symptoms and quick action is vital.

Meningitis is a serious disease, so we want you to know what to look out for. It can kill within hours so the quicker you act, the more likely you are to save yours, or someone else’s, life.

Each year there are 3,200 cases of bacterial meningitis in the UK – leaving 10 per cent of sufferers dead and a third of those who survive with after-effects such as brain damage, loss of hearing and sight and, where septicaemia has occurred, loss of limbs and scarring.

Meningitis is a difficult disease to spot as many of its early symptoms can be similar to flu. These symptoms can include fever with cold hands and feet, vomiting, headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright light, joint or muscle pain, pale blotchy skin, drowsiness, confusion and, in babies, a dislike of being handled, an unusual cry, rapid breathing and bulging fontanelle.

Both adults and children may have a rash that does not fade under pressure, but our advice is not to wait for a rash to develop before seeking medical attention.

Symptoms can appear in any order and some may not appear at all.

Without vaccines for all strains of meningitis, knowing the symptoms is the best form of defence. Download our free mobile app or request a credit-card sized symptoms card.

Anyone affected by the disease or who has concerns can contact our free helpline on 0808 80 10 388 for information on our free support services.

Protect yourself this winter!