Meningitis Symptoms in Toddlers: Causes, and their handling

Symptoms of Meningitis in Toddlers: Causes, Symptoms, and their handling
Meningitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the brain's membrane (meninges). Infants and toddlers are the most vulnerable groups experiencing meningitis, the reason more than 50 percent of cases of meningitis occur in this group. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics a child less than two months old are at risk of experiencing this disease. So, what are the symptoms and causes of meningitis in infants? Is it preventable?

What are the symptoms of meningitis in Toddlers?

Symptoms of meningitis in toddlers initially do not seem alarming. Some toddlers may only look tired and fussier. But after that, meningitis can develop to be serious quickly. Various symptoms will then emerge.

Symptoms of meningitis in toddlers that are commonly occurring are:
  • The head is swollen, due to the prominent fontanel (a soft point that sits above the head).
  • Fever.
  • Cold hands and feet, but warm body temperature.
  • Babies shiver when not too cold.
  • The baby's neck becomes more rigid.
  • Fussy and crying especially when carried.
  • Continuous vomiting.
  • Refuse when fed.
  • Very sleepy, until the baby is hard to wake.
  • Red or dark colored rash on the baby's body.
  • Cry of high-situation cry.
  • Jaundice (yellowish skin).
  • Suction from the mouth of a weakened baby.

If you've seen baby fever, look sick, and have a rash, seek medical treatment immediately. If your doctor suspects your baby's meningitis, the doctor will do a CT scan, blood screening, urine test, and lumbar puncture to detect the presence of bacteria in the infant's brain fluid.

This disease should be handled immediately, otherwise, it will cause other health problems in infants, such as deafness, blindness, late developments, unable to speak, problems in baby muscles, seizures, and even dies.
Symptoms of Meningitis in Toddlers: Causes, Symptoms, and their handling

Causes of meningitis in Toddlers

The most common cause is due to bacteria and viruses. Bacterial meningitis is usually more harmful than viral meningitis, but both still require medical care as soon as possible.

Some viruses that can cause meningitis

  • Non-Polio enteroviruses. The Virus is most commonly spread through contact with dirt, saliva, or ingest from the nose.
  • Influenza Virus. The Virus spreads through cough, sneezing, and contact with people who are infected with influenza.
  • Herpes simplex Virus (HSV). A person can spread HSV to the baby through kisses, even when an infected person does not yet have any symptoms. Newborns can also get a virus from her mother during her birth process.
  • Varicella-zoster Virus. The Virus is highly contagious and causes smallpox and rash. The virus is often spread through breathing, speaking, or in contact with the wound of someone infected with this virus.
  • Measles and London. The Virus from the disease is very infectious and can spread while talking, coughing, sneezing.

Some bacteria cause meningitis in toddlers

  • Streptococcus group B. It is transmitted from mother to newborn.
  • Escherichia coli. This bacterium also spreads from mother to infant during childbirth if her mother contaminated this bacterium from food.
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae and Hemophilus influenza type B. These bacteria generally spread through coughs and sneezes.
  • Listeria monocytogenesis spreads through contaminated food. The fetus can be infected during the mother consuming food contaminated by this bacterium.
  • Neisseria meningitis. These bacteria can spread through adult saliva too.

Are there any precautions to do?

It is not 100 percent prevention can be done. But at least the most important thing is never to pass the vaccine for your baby. Polio vaccine, measles, London, varicella (chickenpox), influenza, and all other infant vaccines are very useful to protect themselves babies from virus attacks.

Besides conducting complete vaccines, it is also important to keep the baby clean in order to prevent the spread of viruses. This can be done by:
  • Wash your hands well and often, especially after using a toilet, changing diapers, and before preparing food and drinks, and make sure the child is always washing hands
  • Avoid sharing drinks, food, cutlery, toothbrushes with babies.
  • Clean the surface of children's toys and other items with disinfectants.

For newborns, up to two months of extra protection should be given, such as:

  • Keep the baby with a sick person or who is coughing, sneezing, or not well-being.
  • Keep the baby from crowds of very many people
  • Wash your hands before preparing any baby equipment
  • Ask others to wash their hands before holding the baby and to avoid touching the baby's face.
  • Take care of babies from mosquito bites especially usually from dusk to dawn. If the baby is outside, use long-sleeved clothing and also his pants, use also the safest anti-mosquito repellent for babies.
  • Do not let the baby be exposed to cigarette smoke.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope this article is helpful to parents. Please share if this article is considered important to other parents.

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