THE Meningitis Trust is warning people to watch out for the symptoms caused by the bacterial form of the disease as the start of the peak season approaches.
More common from October to March, it can kill within hours.
The symptoms are hard to spot particularly as it shares many early characteristics with flu, including fever with cold hands and feet, vomiting, headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright light, joint or muscle pain, pale blotchy skin, drowsiness, confusion and convulsions.
In babies it can also result in a dislike of being handled, an unusual cry, rapid breathing and bulging fontanelle.
Both adults and children may also have a rash that does not fade under pressure. Symptoms can appear in any order and some may not appear at all. If concerned, seek urgent medical attention.
To find out more visit www.meningitis-symptoms.co.uk or call the Meningitis Trust free, 24/7 on 0800 028 18 28. For the more technologically minded there is the opportunity to download a free symptoms app for iPhones and Android platforms from www.meningitisapp.co.uk or request a handy credit card sized checklist of symptoms.