Meningitis affects 40 percent of children up to four years of age. Babies and young children have the greatest risk of contracting meningitis. Going undetected can have serious consequences. That’s why I’ll explain how to recognize this dangerous disease and how it is treated.
Table of contents
Meningitis – What Is It Actually?
Meningitis is caused by bacteria or viruses. Among these, meningococci are the most common triggers. Infection with meningococci can lead to either blood poisoning (sepsis) or meningitis.
Other triggers are pneumococci or Haemophilus influenza type b. The diseases measles and mumps can also trigger the dangerous disease. Known is the disease early summer meningoencephalitis, which is transmitted by TBE viruses in the saliva of ticks. Surprisingly, the disease breaks out here in comparatively few and affects older people rather than younger ones.
The disease is difficult to detect because the symptoms are mostly non-specific. Often, the disease is detected very late, when it is already life-threatening.
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How Do You Catch It?
In fact, one in ten adults is a host of meningococcus without being sick themselves. Just like a cold, these can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing, kissing, or even a handshake.
Possible Consequences Of Meningococcal Infection
The consequences of infection with meingococcus can be severe. For example, they can lead to hearing loss, damage to the brain, loss of limbs due to sepsis, organ failure, or even death. Knowing the symptoms is therefore even more important so that your child can be treated early by a doctor.
How To Recognize Meningitis
The following symptoms can occur individually or together
:In meningitis, the symptoms are often difficult to classify. They are non-specific and are often initially confused with a normal flu. With meningitis, symptoms usually come on very suddenly and start with fever, fatigue, and possibly vomiting.
If you feel your child has meningitis, don’t hesitate and get to the doctor quickly – better once more than once too little.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Pain in the neck.
- Loss of appetite.
- cold hands and feet.
- hard or bulging fontanelle.
- Hemorrhages in the skin (small red spots).
A typical sign of meningitis is neck stiffness. Parents can easily test this themselves – you should definitely ask your pediatrician to show you.
This is how you test your child for neck stiffness:
Lay your child flat on his or her back and press the chin toward the chest. This movement usually does not hurt. If your child is in pain or the head is hard to move, you should go to the hospital right away.
Treatment Of Meningitis
To clearly diagnose meningitis, cerebrospinal fluid is taken from the patient through the spinal cord. The survival rate has now increased greatly. Treatment is possible via the generous administration of antibiotics. However, half of all sufferers still die.
How Can I Protect My Child From Meningitis?
Parents should inform themselves in good time about the necessary vaccinations for their children. Your child is already protected against meningitis caused by measles and mumps by the first vaccinations. There are also vaccinations against meningococcal types A, C and Y and W135. However, this vaccination is only recommended for longer stays abroad.
Since vaccinations can always have side effects, you should seek comprehensive advice from your pediatrician.
Meningitis – Dangerous But Treatable
Meningitis is still an extremely dangerous disease. With the right vaccinations, you can take precautions and protect your child from certain types of meningitis. Especially for babies and toddlers, however, the following applies: check the neck in case of emergency, even if it could just be the flu, and go directly to the hospital if there are important signs. If meningitis is detected in time, your child will soon get well.
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