Meningitis is a fatal disease that can develop very quickly and can lead to long term complications such as deafness, limb loss and severe brain damage. It can happen to anyone at any age. It is super important that you recognise any early signs and symptoms and get medical help quickly.
Meningitis is an infection of the meninges – the protective membrane that supports the brain and spinal cord.
What to look out for:
Some of the earlier symptoms are more like other mild childhood infections and these include a fever with cold hands and feet, pain in the limbs and joints, vomiting, headache and generally the person is feeling unwell. In addition to this other symptoms may include, pale, mottled skin, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights, confusion and a rash may not develop at all, but if you do see a rash which does not disappear when pressure is applied to it (tumbler test), call for an ambulance immediately.
Other signs and symptoms in babies and toddler can be:
- Refusing to feed
- Dislike being handled
- A stiff body, with jerky movements or else floppy and lifeless
- Crying continuously
- Tense or bulging soft spot on their head
What should you do?
- If your concerned, get help immediately. Don’t wait for the rash to appear as this may never develop and is often the last sign of meningitis.
- Remember you know your child better than anyone else – check on them and trust your instincts.