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Don't ignore those ‘flu symptoms': They could be a sign of meningitis!

by , 28 March 2013

Springbok loose forward Schalk Burger is in the news headlines today. But it's medical concern, not sporting victory, that's getting people reading. That's because Burger, who recently had an operation to improve performance of his calf muscle, has since contracted bacterial meningitis. The scary part? You could have meningitis too, without even realising it! Here's what to look out for…

As a result of contracting bacterial meningitis, Schalk Burger will now be in hospital for two weeks and off the rugby fields for at least another six weeks after that, says Sport24
 
What is bacterial meningitis?
 
Bacterial meningitis is a rare but serious condition that can be life-threatening if not treated right away, says KidsHealth.
 
It’s an inflammation of the meninges, which are the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. 
 
And while most cases of meningitis are caused by bacteria or viruses, some can even be caused by certain medications or illnesses.
 
Luckily, viral meningitis, which is the more common type, is far less severe.
 
In fact, it often even goes undiagnosed because its symptoms can be similar to those of the common flu virus.
 
So if you’ve been strengthening your immune system ahead of flu season by upping your dosage of vitamin D, vitamin C and essential fatty acids as FSP Health recommends, and you still find yourself feeling under the weather, it could actually be meningitis causing you to feel unwell.
 
Meningitis symptoms to look out for
 
The most common symptoms of either form of meningitis, bacterial and viral, are very similar to flu symptoms.
They include fever, eye sensitivity, a severe and persistent headache, and muscle aches and weakness.
 
But there is one obvious symptom that it may be meningitis and not the flu…
 
Feeling fluey? Do the quick meningitis test! 
 
A stiff and painful neck, especially when trying to touch the chin to the chest, is one of the top warning signs of meningitis, says WebMD.
There you have it.
 
So if you’re surprised that you’ve suddenly come down with the flu, even though you’ve been taking good care of your health lately, do the chin-to-chest test for a painful neck.
 
You could just save your life.
 

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