The symptoms can be the same, but what might seem like the flu could be a life-threatening illness. Don’t take chances.
APRIL 24TH is WORLD MENINGITIS DAY, a day dedicated to raising awareness of this
devastating disease across the globe.
Meningitis is a term used to describe an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain or the spinal cord. Meningitis, especially bacterial meningitis, is a potentially life-threatening condition that can rapidly progress to permanent brain damage, neurologic problems, and even death. Doctors need to diagnose and treat meningitis quickly to prevent or reduce any long-term effects.
Meningitis in Children Symptoms and Signs
In infants, the signs and symptoms of meningitis are not always obvious due to the infant’s inability to communicate symptoms. Therefore, caregivers (parents, relatives, guardians) must pay very close attention to the infant’s overall condition. The following is a list of possible symptoms seen in infants or children with bacterial meningitis (bacterial meningitis at any age is considered a medical emergency):
- Classic or common symptoms of meningitis in infants younger than 3 months of age may include some of the following:
- Decreased liquid intake
- Stiff neck
- Increased irritability
- Increased lethargy
- Bulging fontanelle (soft spot on the top of the head)
- Seizure activity
- Classic symptoms in children older than 1 year of age are as follows:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Altered mental status (seems confused or odd)
- Seizure activity
- Neck stiffness or neck pain
- Knees automatically brought up toward the body when the neck is bent forward or pain in the legs when bent (called Brudzinski sign)
- Inability to straighten the lower legs after the hips have already been flexed 90 degrees (called Kernig sign)
- Symptoms of viral meningitis most commonly resemble those of the flu (fever, muscle aches, cough, headache but some may have one or more of the symptoms listed above for bacterial meningitis), but the symptoms are usually considerably milder.