Meningitis is a very serious and dangerous pathology, the development of which affects the meninges. To provoke such a disease can viral and bacterial microorganisms, as well as fungi. About what are the symptoms of meningitis in children, we will discuss in our article.
Meningitis in children: symptoms and treatment
As already mentioned, meningitis is a very dangerous disease, the development of which affects the arachnoid and the soft part of the meninges. With this disease, the central nervous system is also seriously affected. To avoid complicated consequences, parents should know what the primary symptoms of this pathology are. But before we consider this issue, I would like to pay special attention to the causes of meningitis, as well as its types.
The main causes of meningitis are infections and viruses. Depending on the age of the child, his body is more or less exposed to certain pathogens. These can be fungi, staphylococci, enteroviruses, adenoviruses, etc.
To date, there are several classification signs by which doctors determine the type of meningitis. Most often in medical practice this pathology is divided into two large groups:
In the first case, meningitis occurs as an independent pathology and does not affect other tissues and organs, and in the second it develops against the background of previously suffered diseases. Also, meningitis is usually classified according to the type of modification of the cerebrospinal fluid. There are two types of this disease in children:
- serous viral.
An expert diagnosis and appropriate treatment can only be made by a specialist after a comprehensive examination. If we talk about the symptoms of meningitis in general, the signs of such a disease is considered to be:
- a sharp rise in body temperature to the level of 39-40 °;
- headaches having a bursting character;
- the appearance of a rash in the form of pink spots over the entire surface of the body;
- increased muscle tone of the head;
- systematic vomiting;
- lethargy, or, conversely, excessive irritability and activity.
As you can see, the overall symptomatic picture of meningitis at the initial stage is very similar to the common cold. Treatment specialists to determine the symptoms of meningitis recommend parents to lay the child on his back, and then bend his legs at the knee and hip joints to form a right angle. With the development of meningitis, the baby will not be able to straighten the leg at the knee joint.
Signs of the disease in babies up to a year
Special attention should be paid to the symptoms of meningitis that develops in infants. It is in the period of up to one year in children that the clinical picture of this pathology has a specific and pronounced character. In the first year of a child’s life, the following symptoms are characteristic of meningitis:
- causeless crying;
- refusal to eat (breast or bottle);
- the crumb, as a rule, more often lies on its side, throwing its head back and bending the legs at the knees;
- while holding the baby in the arms of the armpits, his legs are arbitrarily pulled up to the tummy (the so-called Lesage syndrome);
- convulsive phenomena.
With the appearance of the primary signs of the baby urgently need to show the attending specialist. Viral or serous meningitis is amenable to prompt and successful treatment. But purulent type meningitis is very dangerous to health and is fraught with the development of complicated consequences, including death.
Features of the viral type of pathology
Initially, meningitis, the development of which is caused by viruses and bacteria, goes through an incubation period, and only after about 2 days does a specific symptom appear. In medical practice, this disease is known as serous meningitis. Symptoms in children have their own characteristics and, as a rule, are manifested by such signs as:
- increase in body temperature to 40 °;
- headaches of varying intensity;
- headache is concentrated in the temporal region;
- pain syndrome increases with the movement of the eyeballs, loud noise;
- convulsive phenomena of the limbs;
- unreasonable hard crying;
- lack of appetite;
- violation of the stool, usually diarrhea;
- pain in the articular and muscular tissues;
- Kernig, Brudzinsky and Lesage symptoms;
- bending the legs in proportion to the lifting of the body;
- rigidity of the cervical muscle tissue.
Often, during the development of viral meningitis, children develop symptoms similar to a cold or acute respiratory disease. Along with the above symptoms, the crumbs may develop a runny nose, pain in the throat, cough of a different type and intensity.
As medical practice shows, serous type meningitis passes fairly quickly and without consequences for the health of the child. As a rule, symptoms disappear in about 3-5 days. It is extremely rare that babies have symptoms again and the so-called secondary wave occurs. Generally speaking, the duration of the disease with serous meningitis is no more than 14 days. If there is another complication of symptoms, the child should undergo a repeated full-scale examination in order to clarify the diagnosis.
Symptoms of purulent meningitis
More dangerous is meningitis, which has a purulent nature. This disease is more susceptible to babies born with pathology, underweight or a pre-determined period of delivery. Inflammation of the lining of the brain with accumulation of pus is fraught with not only the development of complicated consequences, but also death.
The following symptoms are peculiar to this ailment:
- paroxysmal headache when driving or under load;
- pain in the eyes, as well as impaired visual function;
- lack of appetite;
- general weakness and excessive fatigue;
- pain syndrome felt in muscle and joint tissues;
- rashes on the skin;
- convulsive manifestations;
- falling into a coma
In infants who have not yet reached the age of one, along with the symptoms listed above, a heart rhythm disturbance, rapid and complicated breathing, protrusion of spring, shortness of breath may appear. Antibiotic drugs are mainly used for the treatment of purulent meningitis, however, doctors approach the treatment of babies with extreme caution. Treatment lasts no more than 10 days, and the recovery period is several months.
To prevent the emergence of such pathologies as meningitis, the child must carefully follow the rules of personal hygiene. If, nevertheless, meningitis is diagnosed, then treatment should be complex and be carried out exclusively under total medical supervision.
Treatment of meningitis in children depends entirely on the form of the pathology and the severity of its development. Generally speaking, the treatment course includes the following aspects:
- eliminating the cause of the disease, that is, getting rid of microbial agents;
- adjustment of metabolic processes;
- taking antibacterial drugs;
- receiving antiviral agents;
- the use of drugs containing urea to reduce puffiness;
- taking nootropics to normalize the functioning of the meninges.
During the period of acute development of the pathology, the child must constantly observe bed rest. If this rule is neglected, then complicated consequences may develop. Only after the normalization of all indicators of the fluid located in the spinal cord, is it possible to return to the usual way of life.
Rapid rehabilitation is facilitated by therapeutic procedures and massage actions. During recovery after treatment of meningitis, the child should have a special diet. The diet can adjust the treating specialist. To restore the vitamin supply, as well as normalize the vitality of the body, food must be enriched with protein and vitaminized elements.
Independently treat meningitis of any form is strictly prohibited. In some cases, it can lead to the development of complicated consequences associated with the functioning of the brain, and even death. If you experience the slightest symptoms, immediately contact your healthcare professional. Good health to you and your children!