Bacterial meningitis is a scary and severe illness that can cause permanent health problems and even be dangerous. Bacterial meningitis is more common than most people realize, and it’s highly contagious. It’s often spread among children and young adults in school and college.
An infection that is left untreated or is not diagnosed before it enters the bloodstream is usually the cause of bacterial meningitis. There are also certain medical conditions that can make a person more at risk to contract meningitis.
The symptoms of meningitis are often similar to the symptoms of other common illnesses and diseases, and many people take too long to be diagnosed and begin treatment. If left untreated, meningitis can be fatal. Knowing the common symptoms of the illness can help you identify it and seek medical treatment promptly. The sooner a patient begins treatment, the more likely they are to recover without complications.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of bacterial meningitis.
1. Stiff Neck
A stiff neck is a common symptom of bacterial meningitis, and something many people look for when diagnosing themselves. While it is a symptom, you can have meningitis and not have a stiff neck. Some people experience severe pain and stiffness, and others just experience minor discomfort. The stiffness usually occurs when a person tries to look down or tuck their chin to their chest. In fact, many doctors will ask a patient to attempt this to confirm or rule out the possibility of meningitis before performing other more invasive tests.
A stiff neck is usually one of the first symptoms to appear and one of the first to go away. Many people can begin moving their necks normally a few days after they begin treatment. Some people may have lingering pain or stiffness for a few weeks after they recover from meningitis. It should not cause long-term problems or pain.