Meningitis and Septicaemia awareness campaign 2009 – podcast

Fiona Browning, Health Protection Nurse, NHSScotland - Transcript

I’m Fiona Browning.

I’m a health protection nurse involved in raising awareness about meningitis and septicemia.

An important part of my job involves speaking to patients, and their families, who have been affected my meningitis and septicemia.

I provide information, answer their questions and offer support so that they truly understand what has happened.

It’s really important for people to be aware of the risk of meningitis and septicaemia and know what to look for.

It’s even more important at this time of year as we head into winter because some of the symptoms are very similar to flu.

Meningitis and septicaemia can be difficult to recognise in the early stages.

The symptoms usually start like many mild illnesses with fever, vomiting, headache and generally feeling unwell.

In fact it’s very similar to flu.

Not everyone will have all of the symptoms they can appear in any order and might include a severe headache, vomiting, stomach pains sometimes with diarrhea, shivering, extremely cold hands and feet, fever, pains in the limbs, joints and muscles, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights and some will have a rash that doesn’t fade under pressure.

Meningitis and septicaemia can affect anyone at any age but we know that students and young people are amongst those at highest risk.

Students starting university or college are often away from their families and friends for the first time.

So it’s crucial that they look after their health and each other.

While becoming ill with meningitis or septicaemia is rare as it’s not highly infectious, it can result in serious illness, permanent disability or even death.

People with meningitis or septicaemia can become seriously ill very quickly but, if diagnosed early enough, most people survive and make a full recovery.

However, too many people can be left with permanent after-effects such as deafness, learning difficulties or even amputations.

Urgent medical treatment is essential.

The sooner you are diagnosed and treated the greater the chance that you will make a full recovery.

Many people will have already been immunised against some forms of meningitis.

If you are not sure that you have been vaccinated and would like to check that you are protected you should speak to your nurse or doctor.

Remember it is not currently possible to vaccinate you against all forms of meningitis and septicaemia so you should still make sure that you are aware of the signs and symptoms.

Meningitis and septicemia can be treated using antibiotics, but always remember the sooner you are diagnosed and treated the greater the chance that you will make a full recovery.

More information

If you are worried about yourself or one of your friends, you should contact your GP immediately for advice or call NHS 24 on 111.

For more information about meningitis and septicaemia visit:

Remember prompt action can save lives. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Updated 28 July 2014

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