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"I have a rash on the palms of both hand. Do I have meningitis?"


I have a rash on both palms that is extending up my arms. I also have a similar rash on the sole of my left door. No fever but some neck stiffness. Do I have meningitis? I have a Dr appt scheduled for Thursday can I wait until then?


Thank you for your question regarding meningitis. I am curious why you are concerned that your symptoms may be due to meningitis, as this is typically not the first thought that patients have when developing a rash. If it is because you have recently been exposed to someone with meningitis, I encourage you to visit the emergency room right away.

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Meningitis is a condition that occurs when the meninges, or lining of the brain and spinal cord, becomes inflamed or infected. This can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites and will typically lead to symptoms including fever, headache, stiff neck, and occasionally sensitivity to light. Patients might develop a rash when they have one particular form of meningitis caused by a certain bacteria known as Neisseria meningitis. This rash will look like small pinpoint red or purple spots on the lower legs, chest and abdomen, and sometimes the palms and soles of the hands and feet. However, seeing this rash does not necessarily mean you have Neisseria meningitis as this type of rash can be seen in other diseases. For example, syphilis can present with red bumps on the palms and soles. Rashes on the palms and soles can also be a sign of hand, foot, and mouth disease which more commonly affects children but has been seen in adults as well. Therefore, I encourage you to visit your doctor who can help identify the source of your symptoms.

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