With recent headlines highlighting the strain on the NHS, the UK’s largest meningitis charity is urging people not to be afraid to seek medical help if meningitis is suspected.
Current pressures on the NHS and local emergency departments are well documented, with claims that the system is at ‘breaking point’. However, national charity Meningitis Now is encouraging people not to hesitate if they suspect meningitis, and to seek medical help immediately.
Dr Tom Nutt CEO of Meningitis Now said “We understand the pressures that the NHS is currently facing. However, if you suspect meningitis seek medical help immediately – please do not hesitate or be put off by recent stories of a struggling NHS.”
Cases of bacterial meningitis increase over the winter period. Between the months of January to March 2017, there were 266 cases of meningococcal meningitis, compared to 120 cases between July and September. These figures show that people are 2.2 times more likely to be affected by meningococcal meningitis in the winter months.
It is important that people seek appropriate advice and treatment when unwell, which could be from a pharmacist, GP, or calling NHS 111, rather than visiting A & E. However, suspected meningitis should always be treated as an emergency and anyone concerned should visit their local A & E department.
Tom added: “It is vital to seek help as quickly as possible, as we know that early medical intervention can vastly improve outcomes.”
Vaccines remain the best way to protect against meningitis. However, in the absence of vaccines for all causes of the disease, learning the signs and symptoms, and seeking urgent medical help, can save lives.
Common signs and symptoms of meningitis include; fever, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, severe muscle pain, severe headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, convulsions/seizures, pale/blotchy skin, spots/rash.
For more information visit: www.meningitisnow.org