Monday, 27 July 2015

Meningitis in children


I wrote about my experience in the hospital with Jack and probably most frightening time I have experienced with my children, I know that there is lots of information about, regarding meningitis but as this lays close to my heart, I thought I would write a reminder of the facts for us to remember to be vigilant with our children.



There are two Common types of meningitis, Bacterial meningitis and Viral Meningitis 

Viral Meningitis - is mainly seen in children up to five years old, However that does not mean you cant get it when you are above this age, the outcome of this virus is usually better and viral meningitis can resolve on its own.

Bacterial Meningitis - is contagious, and is life threatening up to 40% of children with this will die and half of adults who get this will die - this is still the case even with the correct treatment - scary stuff

Symptoms in different ages will vary but looking at symptoms in babies and young children this is what too look out for.


  • A Tense or bulging soft spot (this is in young babies located on there heads)
  • High temperature (However in young children under three months this could be low)
  • They could be very sleepy have a staring expression or be too sleepy to wake up
  • Breathing - this could be fast or seem like it is difficult 
  • They could have extreme shivering
  • Rash - this could be small pin prick or purple bruising (this could be anywhere on there body)
  • They may get diarrhoea 
  • they may make unusual grunting sounds
  • they might be vomiting or refusing to feed
  • your child could be irritable when picked up, with a high pitched, moaning or odd cry
  • blotchy skin, becoming pale and or turning blue
  • Cold hands and feet (but still have a high temperature)
  • A stiff body with jerky type movements or on the other scale be still and lifeless
  • pain when moving muscles, joints or limbs.


A lot of the symptoms can be mistaken for other things, and there is no sequence in which way the symptoms will appear, only your child will become quite ill in a short space of time. Also watch out for the rash, tiny red or brown pin prick marks that can change into purple blotches or blisters, the rash can be much harder to be seen on darker skin and also check everywhere, like the palms of there hands, soles of there feet, inside the eyelids and the roof of the mouth.

Carry Out the "Glass Test" this is rolling the glass over the area where the rash is, through the glass any marks they have should disappear, and reappear once the glass is lifted off if you can still see the rash through the glass and it is not disappearing, you should seek medical attention straight the way. always remember if your child is very ill they need medical attention don't wait to see if a rash forms take them to be seen by a medical professional.

A few decades ago the outlook for bacterial meningitis was not great at all, and almost everyone would die - however now days most deaths are caused by Septicaemia which is blood poisoning and this is what causes the rash. A quarter of people may suffer complications such as hearing loss or loss of limbs.

As a parent its important to stay vigilant remember a lot of the symptoms above can be caused by lots of different illnesses, but if you are worried or suspect it could be meningitis, you need to get that person in question to a doctor straight the way, if you are a mum trust your instincts as parents we don't usually get it wrong to find out more information on Meningitis you can visit Meningitis Now Or The Meningitis research foundation.



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