Early signs of meningitis include headache, malaise, fever, vomiting, paleness, pain in the limbs, and coldness of the hands and feet, as stated by the Meningitis Research Foundation. Other characteristic symptoms include aversion to bright lights, rash, stiffness of the neck, sleepiness, confusion and seizures.
When it occurs in infants, meningitis may also cause a lack of appetite, irritability, stiffness, limpness or a bulging spot on the head that is soft to the touch, according to the Meningitis Research Foundation. Children under 3 months of age normally do not get a fever. Symptoms may occur in any order, and some symptoms may not be present. The rash associated with meningitis often appears as small red or brown pin-prick spots on the skin, but they may also become purple or red blotches. The rash can occur anywhere on the body.
If a rash brings cause for concern, a person should perform a tumbler test by pressing a glass up to the affected area, as instructed by the Meningitis Research Foundation. If the the rash can still be seen through the glass, the person should seek medical attention immediately. Even if a rash has not yet set in, a person suffering from other meningitis symptoms should seek immediate medical care.