Starting on the 6th May, Meningitis awareness week aims to raise awareness and increase fundraising for the condition.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining that surrounds and protects the brain. Many different viruses and bacteria can cause meningitis.
The majority of cases of meningitis are caused by meningococcal infection. Meningococcal bacteria is commonly found in the cells at the back of the throat. Generally, for most healthy people, the presence of this bacteria is not harmful.
However, for those with a weakened or underdeveloped immune system, such as children, the bacteria can travel into the bloodstream. If this occurs, the bacteria will multiply exponentially. As they do so, they release a toxic poison into the body’s cells. If the bacteria reach the brain, they can cause inflammation, which is known as meningitis. A resultant condition called Septicaemia, or blood poisoning, can form blockages in small blood vessels, causing cells to die. This usually occurs in the extremities, i.e. the hands and feet.
Not all forms of meningitis and septicaemia can be vaccinated against. By learning to recognise the symptoms, you could prevent serious and life changing disabilities or even save somebody’s life. Early recognition of symptoms is the best way to ensure a good outcome.
Remember that symptoms often present themselves differently in adults and children.
To find out more about the condition, or to see how you can help, visit http://www.meningitis.org/
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