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MENINGITIS AND SEPSIS

Meningitis & Sepsis Awareness

Meningitis Awareness

Facing meningitis can feel like a lonely place. With our helpline, you are not on your own. Call specially trained staff.

0808 80 10 388 (9am-8pm 365 days)

Email: helpline@meningitisnow.org. (Emails are  answered during office hours only)

Calls to our nurse-led helpline are free from landlines and mobile phones within the UK. To make sure everyone can contact us we have access to a telephone interpreting service for over 240 languages. If you have a hearing or speech impairment and use a textphone you can contact us using the prefix 18001. 

 If you have a question, but prefer to receive an answer in writing, you can send our helpline staff an email: helpline@meningitisnow.org. (emails are answered within 2 working days).

Signs and Symptoms

Knowing the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, remaining vigilant and getting medical help quickly can save lives. Our symptoms information has saved many lives already – learn what to look out for today by clicking HERE

To view a video on Signs and Symptoms click HERE

Signs and symptoms in babies and toddlers

Meningitis and septicaemia often happen together.  Be aware of all the signs and symptoms
Do not wait for a rash - If someone is ill and getting worse, get medical help immediately.  To learn what to look out for today click HERE 

 

SEPSIS

Overview

Sepsis is a rare but serious complication of an infection.

Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death.

Sepsis symptoms in children under five

CHILD SEPSIS SYMPTOM CARD

Go straight to A&E or call 999 if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • looks mottled, bluish or pale
  • is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • feels abnormally cold to touch
  • is breathing very fast
  • has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • has a fit or convulsion

Get medical advice urgently from NHS 111

If your child has any of the symptoms listed below, is getting worse or is sicker than you'd expect (even if their temperature falls), trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111.

Temperature

  • temperature over 38C in babies under three months
  • temperature over 39C in babies aged three to six months
  • any high temperature in a child who cannot be encouraged to show interest in anything
  • low temperature (below 36C – check three times in a 10-minute period)

Breathing

  • finding it much harder to breathe than normal – looks like hard work
  • making "grunting" noises with every breath
  • can't say more than a few words at once (for older children who normally talk)
  • breathing that obviously "pauses"

Toilet/nappies

  • not had a wee or wet nappy for 12 hours

Eating and drinking

  • new baby under one month old with no interest in feeding
  • not drinking for more than eight hours (when awake)
  • bile-stained (green), bloody or black vomit/sick

Activity and body

  • soft spot on a baby's head is bulging
  • eyes look "sunken"
  • child cannot be encouraged to show interest in anything
  • baby is floppy
  • weak, "whining" or continuous crying in a younger child
  • older child who's confused
  • not responding or very irritable
  • stiff neck, especially when trying to look up and down

If your child has any of these symptoms, is getting worse or is sicker than you'd expect (even if their temperature falls), trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111. 

Sepsis symptoms in older children and adults

SEPSIS SYMPTOM CARD ADULT

Early symptoms of sepsis may include:

  • a high temperature (fever) or low body temperature
  • chills and shivering
  • a fast heartbeat
  • fast breathing

In some cases, symptoms of more severe sepsis or septic shock (when your blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level) develop soon after.

These can include:

  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • a change in mental state – such as confusion or disorientation
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • slurred speech
  • severe muscle pain
  • severe breathlessness
  • less urine production than normal – for example, not urinating for a day
  • cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin
  • loss of consciousness

When to get medical help

Seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111 if you've recently had an infection or injury and you have possible early signs of sepsis.

If sepsis is suspected, you'll usually be referred to hospital for further diagnosis and treatment.

Severe sepsis and septic shock are medical emergencies. If you think you or someone in your care has one of these conditions, go straight to A&E or call 999. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on Sepsis click on the links below:

NHS UK - SEPSIS

SEPSIS TRUST





 
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