The serious case of meningitis in children.
As a father of two kids, I am always very concerned about children's health, I love to pay attention to little details as well, so the moment I notice any form of changed symptoms in my kids, I instantly take them to the hospital for necessary check-ups and treatments, I want to completely avoid any form of stories that touches the heart. That being said, I am going to be writing about an infection that can affect anyone but is more prevalent in babies, very young children, and young adults. Today, we explore the topic Meningitis
Meningitis is a meninges inflammation, meninges is the membrane covering the spinal cord and the brain, now while people of any age could get meningitis, it could spread faster amongst those living in close quarters, making it easier for college students, teenagers, and boarding school students to get a faster infection. If handled fast and correctly, the infection could be successfully treated.
Most cases of meningitis are caused by viruses or bacteria, there are however some cases of meningitis that could be caused due to some type of medications or illnesses. Let's talk about the different categories of meningitis one after another;
Bacterial Meningitis: Bacteria meningitis is rare but often very serious and it could even be life-threatening if not treated adequately. In certain cases of bacterial meningitis, the bacteria would spread to the meninges from a serious head trauma to a serious local infection, like a very serious case of ear infection or nasal sinus infection. Different bacteria cause bacterial meningitis, in newborn babies, the most common causes are group B strep, E.coli, in less common cases we have Listeria monocytogenes and in older children, we have Streptococcus pneumonia(pneumococcus), and *Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) as causative factors.
Viral Meningitis: Viral meningitis is a more common type of meningitis than bacterial meningitis, it is also called aseptic meningitis and is often a less serious case. The viruses that cause meningitis are common viruses like the ones that cause cold sores, flu, diarrhea, and colds.
Fungal meningitis:Fungual meningitis is even less common than bacteria and viruses, but fungi can also cause meningitis, especially in children. Fungal meningitis is more of an opportunistic infection, which develops when the immune system in a child gets weakened from other infections or other previous treatments. According to published study, there is a high case of fungal meningitis in children who have hematological disease like leukemia or children who have gon through a hematopoietic stem cell or a solid organ transplant.
The common symptoms of meningitis include;
- Absence of energy.
- Skin rash
- Stiff neck.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Absence of energy.
The symptoms of meningitis in babies are different, babies would show;
- Cranky symptoms.
- They would feed poorly.
- Often feel sleepy and maybe more difficult to wake up.
- A high-pitched cry.
- Body temperature that is lower than usual.
- A weak suck.
How to prevent meningitis.
Having a routine immunization would help a lot in the prevention of meningitis, there are vaccines that could help protect against meningitis.
Kids should get the the meningococcal conjugate vaccine MenACWY, when they are 11-12 years old, parents should be advised to bear this in mind, and a booster shot at the age of 16 should also be encouraged. Children who have not received previous vaccination and are older than 12, should be immunized especially if they are to go to college, camp, boarding school, or other places where they would need to live in close quarters with one another.
There is a type of vaccine that is new than others, it is a type of meningococcal vaccine called MenB, which protects against a type of meningococcal bacterium that is not covered by the older existing vaccine. Medical experts that kids who are 10 years and above, who stand a higher chance of infection, should get this particular vaccine, although the decision to take this vaccine should be a joint decision between parents/caregivers and doctors.
In order to prevent meningitis, kids and adults are advised to constantly wash their hands properly and regularly, but more particularly, before eating and after using the bathroom, close contact also need to be avoided amongst strangers who look ill and most especially, do not share eating utensils and food items with them.
If meningitis is not treated very fast, it would lead to serious complications and these complications would need extra treatment. A person with shock or low blood pressure may need more IV fluids and medicines that would help with blood pressure increase, complication in kids may require extra oxygen or mechanical ventilation especially if they experience troubled breathing.
Complications with bacterial meningitis can be highly severe and even cause some neurological problems to like; as vision problems, seizures, sharing loss, and learning disabilities this is because impaired hearing is a form of common complication, the people who have previously gone through bacterial meningitis should go through a hearing test after their recovery.
It is a good time to visit the hospital if there is any displayed symptom of meningitis, or you notice other symptoms like; vomiting, headache, rash, fever, tiredness and confusion, as well as neck stiffness. The instance you notice your baby has fever, is cranky and is not feeding appropriately, the child has to be taken to the hospital.
Meningitis is no joke and should not be taken lightly at all, if you notice the symptom in your kid, make sure to visit the hospital immediately. The cause of meningitis could be; viral, bacterial or fungal, the cause of the infection would directly impact the symptoms and the level of symptoms and recoveryavailable during treatment.