If your family has children, then you simply must know the symptoms of meningitis. In a child, this disease begins suddenly, the patient's condition worsens with every minute. It is necessary to identify the disease as soon as possible and call an ambulance. Late assistance may lead to the most adverse consequences and even death. What should alert the parents?
The enemy you need to know in person: meningitis - how is it dangerous for children?
Meningitis is an insidious and deadly disease. It causes serious complications and affects the mental development of the child. With meningitis, the membranes of the spinal cord or brain become inflamed. The peak incidence occurs at the beginning of spring and the end of autumn. The disease most often affects young children from 1 to 5 years. But such a disease is found in infants and adolescents.
In the world, up to 10 cases of meningitis per 100 thousand people are registered annually. Mortality in bacterial species reaches 14%. If treatment is started late, up to 50% of patients die. With fast and competent therapy, death occurs in 10% of cases. In infants, the situation is even worse: the number of deaths from illness in newborns reaches 30%. This shows how important it is to know the symptoms of meningitis in a child: it can save his life.
Why does meningitis occur?
How infected with meningitis depends on the form of this infection. The disease can be picked up in this way:
- from a sick person (by contact);
- through dishes, household items, towels, hygiene products, toys;
- viral drip;
- from healthy carriers of pathological microorganisms.
- placental route (extremely rare);
The entrance gates for meningococcal infections are the respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract. When harmful microorganisms are on the mucous membranes of these organs, they cause local inflammatory reactions (therefore, at the initial stage, meningitis is similar to SARS or intestinal poisoning). Then the infection actively multiplies, penetrates the blood and lymph. So she gets to the meninges.
Types of meningococcal infection, primary and secondary form
Meningitis can occur as an "autonomous" disease or as a complication of another disease.
Secondary meningitis can develop with otitis, pneumonia, nasopharyngeal diseases, furunculosis. Complications in the form of inflammation of the meninges and provoke childhood infections: chickenpox, mumps, measles, rubella, enterovirus infections. When secondary meningitis first appears signs of acute respiratory infections - runny nose, conjunctivitis, cough, and then body aches, lethargy, lack of appetite and all the characteristic symptoms of this disease are connected to them.
Meningitis, depending on the pathogen that causes it, can be:
- bacterial (pneumococcal, tuberculosis, meningococcal);
- protozoal (it is caused by protozoa);
The following classification is widely used:
- purulent (its development is due to bacterial flora);
- serous (it is caused by viruses, less often - bacteria and fungi).
What symptoms are found in different types?
How does viral meningitis manifest in children? Symptoms of this type are: rapidly increasing headache, nausea, chills, vomiting (but no diarrhea). In 1-2 days children develop a rash on the abdomen, heels, buttocks, and lower legs in the form of pink spots (2 cm in size). The temperature rises (up to 40˚), the skin turns red. For 2-3 days there is a change of consciousness: delusions, hallucinations, coma.
What is the clinical picture of serous meningitis in children? The symptoms of this form of meningococcal infection: the onset of acute, sometimes in the incubation period, there are catarrhal manifestations of the respiratory tract and loose stools. Then there is a headache, which quickly increases, fever (the temperature reaches 38. It rises in waves: the fever lasts for 3-4 days, then the temperature returns to normal, and then rises again), nausea (rarely - vomiting), meningeal symptoms give about yourself know moderately. Gradually, the child loses the ability to perceive the converted speech.
Symptoms of purulent meningitis: headache and muscle pain, weakness, eye pain, fever, vomiting, skin rash, loss of consciousness, convulsions, coma.
Signs of meningitis are common in children and adults.
In adults and children, the ailment is manifested by a meningeal syndrome common to all types (except for tuberculosis). It includes 3 groups of symptoms that develop in the following sequence:
- Generally infectious:
- acute onset;
- a sharp rise in temperature to 38-38,5˚.
- severe chills;
- loss of appetite;
- lethargy and drowsiness, indifference to everything that happens;
- change in heart rate, pressure drop.
- pronounced headache, which is localized in the forehead and temples. It can be bursting, pulsing;
- nausea, vomiting (without food) without relief;
- loss of coordination and consciousness (sometimes a person falls into a coma);
- protrusion of the venous network on the face, eyelids and head.
- Specific meningeal syndrome:
- the forced position that the child occupies: he throws his head back, arches his back, draws in the stomach, bends the upper limbs at the elbows and joints and presses against the body, the lower ones pulls up to the body and bends at all joints;
- muscle tension in the neck. The child holds his head as "crystal". He can not tilt it to the chin. If you try to pull it up to your chest, the legs are also bent at the same time;
- inability to straighten the leg at the knee, if the limb is bent at the hip joint. This is the main diagnostic symptom of meningitis;
- the sick person may behave aggressively, some develop delusions and hallucinations;
- loss of consciousness, coma.
Tuberculous meningitis is a different scenario. Its symptoms are increasing slowly. For a long time, the patient feels tired, gets tired quickly, there is a headache, but it is not pronounced brightly, from time to time vomiting occurs.
But, unlike adults, in children (especially younger ones), the disease debuts with generalized convulsions (with respiratory arrest and impaired consciousness).
How not to miss the disease: the first symptoms of the disease in children
In children of any age, meningitis begins acutely. First, there is a drying out of the nose and mouth mucosa. Next comes the so-called meningeal triad, that is, the leading symptoms of this disease:
- profuse vomiting;
- temperature. In children, it reaches high levels - 39-40˚.
- headache unexpressed localization.
At this stage it is difficult to make a diagnosis, since such manifestations occur in various diseases. This is the cunning of meningitis.
The hardest thing to recognize ailment in newborns and younger children, as they can not tell about their condition and they can not determine confusion.
Parental anxiety should cause specific changes in the behavior and condition of the baby. In addition to the general, identified and special symptoms of meningitis in children under 3 years. These include:
- violation of sucking or a complete refusal of the child to eat and drink;
- a sharp jump in temperature (it is impossible to bring down antipyretic);
- agitated state, which is replaced by sleepiness;
- sharp cry;
- tension, pulsation and increase of the fontanel on the head;
- hypertonicity of all muscles;
- a sharp increase in crying in any attempt to touch the body of the baby;
- convulsions and twitching;
Newborns do not always have a fever: sometimes it falls below normal. In this case, the skin becomes very pale.
To identify meningitis helps a special test - a symptom of Lesage. It is carried out like this: the baby is taken under the handles - this he spontaneously tightens the legs to the tummy and tilts the head back.
To identify the infection in boys and girls over 3 years old is somewhat simpler, since at this age it is already possible to assess confusion. To do this, just ask the child a few questions. The initial symptom in children of this age is irritability and fever. In general, the symptoms of meningitis in a child of 3-7 years coincide with those in adults. These are the triad of symptoms described above, plus convulsions and numbness of the arms and legs, redness and swelling of the face, redness of the throat, yellowing of the whites of the eyes.
Meningitis is also manifested in schoolchildren and teenagers.
How is the diagnosis?
The primary diagnosis is made on the basis of symptoms, special tests (pressure on the eyeballs, cheek symptom, “cocked trigger” posture), and a visual assessment of the child’s condition. For accurate confirmation of the diagnosis is the puncture of the cerebrospinal fluid.
How is meningitis treated?
Treat a dangerous illness only in the hospital. A sick child is placed in the infectious disease ward. Penicillin group antibiotics are used. The patient is prescribed drugs that reduce intracranial pressure and eliminate the symptoms of toxin poisoning. The prescription list also includes medications that restore nerve cells and blood vessels. Conducted anti-inflammatory therapy.
A gentle, milk-protein diet and bed rest are prescribed.
Unfortunately, even the most caring mothers and fathers can not always protect children from dangerous infections. But what they can and should do is to remember how the meningitis manifests in children (symptoms). Both treatment, and prognosis, and recovery largely depend not only on the professionalism of the doctors, but also on how quickly adults react to the manifestations of the disease in a child.