First Aid For All video: How to spot Meningitis

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Learning basic first aid can save lives. Your YEP has teamed up with St John Ambulance to bring you some simple tips. This week: Meningitis

Meningitis is potentially fatal if not spotted and treated quickly.

The tumbler test for Meningitis.

The tumbler test for Meningitis.

Meningitis usually starts with a fever, headache and aversion to bright lights along with stiffness of the joints and neck. Vomiting may follow, and sometimes a rash that remains the same if a glass is pressed against it.

Although anyone can get meningitis, it is most common in babies and young children.

Symptoms in a child include: a very high fever with cold hands and feet; they may feel agitated but not want to be touched; they may cry continuously; some children can become very sleepy and it may be difficult to wake them; they may appear confused and unresponsive; they may develop a blotchy red rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it.

There are two types of meningitis – bacterial and viral. Bacterial is far more serious and can cause brain damage and septicaemia.

It is most common in children under five years old, in particular in babies under the age of one, and among teenagers aged 15 to 19.

Meningitis can be difficult to diagnose because it can come on suddenly and have many of the same symptoms as flu. Not everyone gets the rash so don’t wait for that to appear.

Call medical help immediately, particularly with a young child. This may involve going to your accident and emergency department or calling an ambulance.

Viral meningitis usually gets better within a couple of weeks, with plenty of rest and painkillers for the headache.

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