Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord, usually due to the spread of an infection. If you suspect that you or someone in your family has signs or symptoms of meningitis, seek medical care right away. Early treatment can prevent serious complications.
 

Symptoms

It's easy to mistake the early signs and symptoms of meningitis for the flu (influenza). Meningitis symptoms may develop over a period of one or two days and typically include:

  • A high fever
  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting or nausea with headache
  • Confusion, or difficulty concentrating — in the very young, this may appear as inability to maintain eye contact
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking up
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Lack of interest in drinking and eating
  • Skin rash in some cases, such as in viral or meningococcal meningitis
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