Meningitis is characterized by swelling, redness, and intense pain of the membranes which surround the brain and the spinal cord. This condition can be explained in a few word as inflammation of membranes. The danger of occurrence of meningitis in children is high between the birth and first two years of age. This article provides information about the various symptoms of this condition.
The conditions which govern inflammation like pain, swelling, and redness are now included under the class of non specific immune response. Meningitis is capable of causing temporary and permanent damage to the brain. It also leads to several neurological problems which can result in the death of the affected person. Pathogenic bacteria and viruses are responsible for causing this inflammation. Detecting this condition in small children is a big challenge because the symptoms of this condition are not frequent. When this virus is passed on from the meninges or the spinal cord to the brain, it causes inflammation of the brain. This condition is known as encephalitis.
Infections in the blood stream are the primary causes of meningitis. Therefore, it is very important to protect the brain from contaminated blood. This useful function is performed by the blood brain barrier. The capacity of the blood brain barrier to purify this contaminated blood is considerably reduced by this viral infections. Some substances secreted by the bacteria or the viruses can also affect the protective ability of the blood brain barrier. Harmful organisms enter the fluid surrounding the brain causing series of reactions in the leaky blood brain barrier. To combat this infection, the human body secrets more and more white blood cells, which in turn leads to more inflammation in the brain tissues. Over secretion of blood cells further results in swelling in the vital parts of the brain. This reduces the blood supply to these parts.
Some general infections like nose and ear infection can cause this condition in children. Ear infection is also known as otitis media, while nasal sinus infections are referred to as sinusitis. A deadly head injury or a previously done surgery can cause this condition. Small children are prone to group B bacteria, like Escherichia coli, Listeria, and Streptococcus. Even after the baby is one month old, it has a serious threat from Haemophilus influenzae type B and Neisseria meningitidis. Viruses cause more complex meningitis problems than bacteria.
Viral meningitis in children can be life-threatening as their immunity is lower than that of grown up adults. Here is a detail description of the various symptoms of meningitis in children:
Fever is one of the most prominent symptom of viral meningitis. It is also very most common in children. Initially, this fever is very mild, and can be around 99.5 °F.
Children affected by viral infection are lethargic, and they get tired in a short time after doing a few physical activities. They feel sleepy due to over exhaustion. They lack enthusiasm and interest in games and other day-to-day activities.
Development of Rash on the Skin
Development of skin rash can be an allergic reaction of the body due to the infiltration of the virus. The rash is succeeded by headache, fever, and lethargy. These rashes can appear on any part of the body.
Children with viral meningitis often experience frequent headaches. Parents should take this symptom seriously even if the headache is mild. Headache occurs due to inflammation around the brain and the membrane.
Problems in Neck Movement
A stiff neck is one of the many symptoms of this condition. The movement of the neck is restricted and painful due to the inflammation of the area around the neck and the spinal cord. This symptom is widely observed in kids and should be brought to the notice of the doctors.
Symptoms of Bacterial Meningitis
There is a similarity in the symptoms of viral and bacterial meningitis. Vomiting, clumsiness, some behavior problems, epilepsy, kidney failure, headache, problems with bright light, are the common symptoms of bacterial meningitis. These symptoms, which are mild initially, can aggravate to a great extent in few days.
This condition can be effectively treated using antibiotics. Doctors may suggest a CT scan to diagnose this condition properly.