Meningitis Symptoms

Know What to Look For

A teen with meningococcal disease may have some or all of the following symptoms, but maybe not at the same time 1,2:

  • Severe headaches
  • High fever
  • Painfully stiff neck
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cold or painful hands and feet
  • Light sensitivity
  • Confusion
  • Rash
  • Seizures

You and your teen should know the red flags for meningitis. If your child has symptoms — especially if he or she has been around someone with meningitis — contact a doctor immediately. When it comes to treating this potentially deadly disease, speed is essential.2,3

Act Fast

Don’t take chances with meningitis. Meningococcal meningitis can be difficult to diagnose because its most common symptoms — fever, headache, and muscle pain — may be similar to those of influenza (flu).1,2

Next: Teens at Risk of Meningitis


  1. Logan SA, MacMahon E. Viral meningitis. BMJ. 2008;336(7634):36-40.
  2. Tunkel AR, van de Beek D, Scheld MW. Acute meningitis. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010:1189-1229.
  3. Stephens DS, Greenwood B, Brandtzaeg P. Epidemic meningitis, meningococcaemia, and Neisseria meningitidis. Lancet. 2007;369(9580):2196-2210.