As children and students across the country prepare to return to school next week, Meningitis Now has issued a warning about the dangers of meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning). It urges vigilance and an awareness of the symptoms, which can appear more like common illnesses such as flu.
Symptoms can include fever with cold hands and feet, headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright light, drowsiness, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion and in some cases a rash which doesn't disappear under pressure.
Meningitis is transmitted by droplets going from person to person either through kissing or when coughing or sneezing.
Harriet Penning of Meningitis Now says: "Shared accommodation arrangements, sitting in close confines and prolonged exposure to bacteria can all unfortunately lead to an increased risk of infection."
The trust asks people to learn the signs and trust their instincts if they suspect anything. To obtain a free card displaying the signs and symptoms of meningitis, contact Meningitis Now on their freephone 24-hour nurse-led helpline on 0800 028 18 18.