Meningitis is a medical term used to describe an infection or inflammation of the meninges, the protective membrane around the brain and spinal cord. Not only in adults, meningitis in children is likely to cause long-term dangerous side effects, if not treated immediately.
Meningitis or inflammation of the lining of the brain caused by bacteria or viruses that move towards the meninges through the bloodstream. Meningitis in children transmitted through a virus can be through air intermediaries, ie from people who cough or sneeze near the Little One, also because they do not maintain cleanliness. Whereas meningitis caused by bacteria can be spread if your child lives together, is touched or kissed by sufferers of meningitis.
Recognize Symptoms of Meningitis in Children
Early signs of meningitis in children caused by bacteria or viruses are often almost similar. In fact, there are some initial symptoms that are similar to other diseases, like the flu. The thing to watch out for is that most of the symptoms of meningitis in children appear or are more easily realized, even if the disease is already severe.
It is recommended to take the child to an emergency department immediately, if you have the following symptoms:
- Fever with cold feet and hands
- Crying, whimpering or moaning are not as usual
- Freckles or rashes appear on the skin
- Sensitive to light
- Breath becomes fast
- Fussy or irritable
- Do not want to eat, lethargic, pale face
- Soft bumps appear on the head
- Stiff on the neck or body
- Seizures, vomiting, drowsiness or difficulty getting up
Danger of meningitis in children
Meningitis in children caused by a virus usually will not cause more dangerous complications than bacterial meningitis. In fact, the symptoms of viral meningitis can improve and disappear by themselves within 7-10 days, and can be treated by outpatient at home.
Whereas meningitis in children caused by bacteria can cause serious or severe and long-term complications, such as:
- Hearing loss (deaf)
- Impaired vision (blind)
- Speech disorders
- Developmental delay
- Learning disability
- Decreased mental function
- Disorders of the heart, kidneys, and glands
To overcome meningitis in children caused by a virus, generally doctors will ask the child to rest, without giving antibiotics, while providing supportive therapy. In rare cases, the virus causes inflammation in the brain, doctors can give antiviral drugs.
Meanwhile, for meningitis in children caused by bacteria, doctors will provide antibiotics and intensive treatment. Chances are the child will also be given breathing assistance with an oxygen mask. To recover from this condition, it generally takes several weeks or more.
To prevent transmission of meningitis in children, you should avoid contact with people with meningitis or who are sick. Immediately take the child to the doctor, if symptoms occur as described above.