Tumbler test for septicaemia
If a glass tumbler is pressed firmly against a septicaemic rash, the marks will not fade. You will be able to see them through the glass. If this happens get medical help immediately. Remember, a very ill baby needs medical help even if they have no rash or a rash that fades.
Meningitis and septicaemia can kill in hours
Meningitis is the swelling of the lining around the brain and spinal cord.
Septicaemia is blood poisoning caused by the same germs that cause meningitis.
There are many forms of meningitis and septicaemia. Some forms are more common than others.
What is the risk to my child?
Children under five are most at risk of meningitis and septicaemia.
Fortunately, most children have natural resistance and vaccines give excellent protection against some forms.
But remember, we don't have vaccines to prevent all forms.
That's why it's vital to know the symptoms and know what to do if you suspect your toddler has meningitis or septicaemia.
What should I look for?
Look out for the symptoms shown on this page.
Meningitis and septicaemia can be hard to recognise in the early stages because the first symptoms are just like many mild childhood diseases.
A child with the most common form of meningitis or septicaemia will usually get ill quickly and get worse fast, so check your unwell toddler often, including during the night.
It is important to look for a rash. Many things can cause a rash, such as allergies and viruses, but if you see the tell-tale marks of septicaemia, get medical help right away.
However, with the less common forms of meningitis and septicaemia there may be no rash, so do not wait for a rash to appear if you are worried about an unwell child showing other symptoms.