Meningitis

Meningitis is a severe inflammation of the brain lining that can be fatal.
It has a number of quite different causes – bacterial, viral and amoebic.
Meningitis is often associated with septicaemia (blood infection), which is often
the final cause of death. Because of this, the diagnosis of ‘meningitis’ often
means that septicaemia is present at the same time.

Most cases of meningitis start with a hugh fever (around 38.5 *C to 39*C), severe
headache, and neck stiffness. Vomiting and drowsiness often follow. The child
may complain of discomfort on looking at bright lights. In some cases, a rash of
red-purple spots or bruises may appear. This rash is caused by blood infection
(septicaemia) and is a very serious sign in cases of meningitis.

In babies, the signs are different. The most likely indicators are fever, refusing
feeds, fretfulness, being difficult to wake, a high-pitched moaning cry, pale or
blotchy skin, and a rash of red or red-purple spots or bruises.

Recent research has shown that three symptoms are reliable early signs of
meningitis in children.
They are:
 - severe leg pain (pain that prevents the child from walking or standing).
 - cold hands or feet (even though the child has a high temperature).
 - looking very pale, blue or dusky around lips.

IMPORTANT: If you suspect meningitis, seek urgent medical
help.

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