ACT for Meningitis, the Irish charity for meningitis awareness, is issuing a warning as wintertime is upon us. There is a higher risk of meningitis during the winter months. As people spend a lot more time indoors and with close contact, germs are spread more easily. Also coming down with a cold or flu may weaken the immune system making you more susceptible to the disease. Knowing the signs and symptoms of meningitis can save a life. They may appear in any order or some may not appear at all. “The symptoms may be difficult to spot, as many of the early symptoms can be similar to those of a flu, so we ask people to trust their instincts and if they suspect meningitis, seek medical help immediately”, says Siobhán Carroll, CEO of ACT for Meningitis.
The signs of meningitis can include vomiting, fever, headache, stiff neck, severe muscle pain and confusion. In babies the signs can include being irritable, refusing to feed, high pitched crying, rapid breathing, cold hands, cold feet and a bulging soft spot on the head. Children up to the age of 5 are the most at-risk age group. Ages 16 to 23 years are the second highest age risk, but anyone of any age can get meningitis. Meningitis does not always produce a rash. If it does appear it will not fade under pressure. Time is of the utmost importance. Meningitis can strike so quickly and can kill within hours. So we ask people to please ACT. This is also a good time to ensure your child’s vaccination program is up to date. If in doubt, clarify with your GP. For more information please call 091 380058 or you can also contact us.