The symptoms of meningitis can differ, depending upon age. Younger people may experience symptoms, such as head pain, vomiting, seizures, fever, neck stiffness with pain and sleepiness, according to WebMD. Other symptoms may appear in younger children and older adults.
In infants, symptoms like irritability and lack of appetite may appear. Other symptoms in babies include coughing or breathing trouble, rashes and crying while being held. Older adults and people with other conditions may only have minor symptoms, such as mild headache and fever. Other symptoms may also appear, although they are not as common. These include tingling or weakness, muscle aches, sluggishness, sensitivity and pain in the eyes from bright light and dizziness.
Meningitis affects the brain and spinal cord, causing inflammation in the lining that surrounds them, says WebMD. In most cases, an infection is the cause. Meningitis consists of two main types: viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis. The most common type is viral meningitis. In most cases of viral meningitis, illness is not severe, and most people recover within about 2 weeks. Bacterial meningitis is a much more dangerous condition that needs to be treated immediately. Untreated, brain damage or death can occur.
Meningitis most commonly affects children and young people. Older adults and those with compromised immune systems are also at risk.