Meningitis: What Parents Need To Know

This is all you need to know about Meningitis. 

The word meningitis makes us all immediately stand back and listen, but do we know what it is or how we can spot it?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes which line the brain and spinal cord. 
The cause of meningitis normally stems from viral or bacterial organisms, that usually live harmlessly in the back of the nose and throat, which then spread to these tissues.
There are differing types of meningitis which is always important to remember; viral and bacterial. 
Both types are dangerous, however, the viral strain is more common and tends to be less severe. Bacterial meningitis is extremely dangerous and can develop quickly without warning.
Nonetheless, symptoms differ in each child. But we would strongly suggest you always follow your gut feeling; if you suspect meningitis seek medical advice as soon as you can. 
Symptoms to be aware of in your baby;
  • Fever, cold hands and feet
  • Refusing food
  • Drowsy or difficult to wake
  • Spots or rash on their body
  • Rapid breathing
  • Pale skin
  • Vomiting
  • Moaning
  • Fretful
  • Leg pains
  • Soft spot on the head returns
Symptoms to look out for in older kids;
  • Fever but cold hands and feet
  • Spots or rash on body
  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Vomiting
  • Difficult to wake
  • Confusion or/and irritability
  • Severe muscle pain
  • A sudden dislike to bright lights
  • Cramps and/or diarrhoea
When meningitis is suspected and medical advice has been sought,  a doctor will usually perform a spinal tap, and then follow with a blood and urine samples. If viral meningitis is discovered, treatment will usually be treated just like flu symptoms.
However, if the diagnosis is bacterial meningitis, hospitalisation is normally required. Strong antibiotics will be administered through an IV drip and treatment could take two to three weeks. If caught early, chances of full recovery are quite good.
Never take a chance mums and dads, if you ever suspect your child has contracted meningitis seeks professional medical advice as soon as possible. 
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