In our winter months recognising meningitis and septicaemia symptoms in babies and children can be daunting and very scary for parents, as some symptoms can be similar to flu and colds. Â But understanding and learning about the symptoms will help you to make sure you act quickly if you child is unwell.
What is Meningitis and septicaemia?
- Bacterial meningitis is inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord â€“ the meninges.
- Septicaemia is blood poisoning caused by the same germs and is the more life threatening form of the disease.
What to look out for:
- The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell
- Limb pain, pale skin and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion
Other signs in babies can be:
- Tense or bulging soft spot on their head
- Refusing to feed
- Irritable when picked up, with a high pitched or moaning cry
- A stiff body with jerky movements, or else floppy and lifeless
- Fever is often absent in babies less than three months of age
- Early symptoms can be like other childhood illnesses, but children with meningitis or septicaemia can get worse quickly.
- More symptoms information can be found here: www.meningitis.org/symptoms
What to do if youâ€™re worried:
- You know your child best; check on them often, trust your instincts
- If you think your baby has meningitis or septicaemia get medical help immediately
- Say that you are worried it could be meningitis or septicaemia
- Return to return to a health professional if you have been sent home but your childâ€™s symptoms progress
- Donâ€™t wait for a rash to appear.Â But if they are already ill and get a new rash or spots, use the Tumbler Test: Press a clear glass tumbler firmly against the rash. If you can see the marks clearly through the glassÂ seek urgent medical help.