Meningitis in children – what you need to know #MyfriendAlexa

Meningitis in children – what you need to know

As a doctor, I have come face to face with many deadly diseases. The one thing that has remained constant to prevent or fight against these diseases is awareness. They say being forewarned is forearmed and in the case of children, you can never have enough information. I remember during my internship days in the pediatric ward, I would notice that the number of child patients suffering from meningitis would increase especially during summers. And this is exactly what I will be discussing with you today – what is Meningitis in children and what you should know.

Meningitis in Children – what you need to know

In meningitis, inflammation occurs in the membranes of the brain and the spinal cord. The common reason is an infection which is caused by bacteria or virus. People of any age can get meningitis, but children are at higher risk since their immune systems are not mature.

15% of children suffering from bacterial meningitis will be left with life-long disabilities.

Globally, 170,000 deaths occur yearly due to bacterial meningitis. In India, there has been a steady increase seen in meningococcal meningitis. And given this data and as a doctor, I feel we can fight this disease through awareness and conversations. Since so many deaths have occurred I make it a point to have a discussion with my patients and family members regarding this deadly disease and why they need to keep a lookout.

In these discussions, I am often asked if so many cases have been identified, why have there been so many deaths. And I tell them that it is because initial symptoms are difficult to recognize as symptoms of meningitis can be similar to those indicating a viral fever.

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What are some of the common symptoms?

  1. Fever, headache, nausea, vomiting
  2. Neck rigidity
  3. Muscles pain
  4. Seizures
  5. Neurological signs

Infants and children under 5 years old are most at risk.

Why is it important to protect from Meningococcal Meningitis?

  1. Devastating diseases: It can kill an otherwise healthy young person within 24-48 hours.
  2. Difficult to diagnose:Initialsymptoms are similar to viral fever.
  3. Long-term disability: Disability such as hearing loss, brain damage, learning difficulties, seizures, etc. can occur.

Meningitis in children – what you need to know

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What can you do?

Here are some easy to do steps that can help reduce the risk of infection:

  1. Inculcate the habit of washing hands in your children, especially before eating, after using the washroom or playing with other kids
  2. Teach them to avoid close contact with anyone who is unwell
  3. Teach them to sneeze or cough in the crook of their elbow instead of their palms
  4. Always make sure the place your child is going to is clean and hygienic
  5. Vaccination – Consult your child’s pediatric to know more about the disease and the vaccines available for infants and teens. Your child should be vaccinated for the meningococcal conjugate vaccine(MCV). Some childhood vaccine can help to protect against viral meningitis.

Meningococcal meningitis can often be devastating and life-threatening. Speak to your child’s pediatrician now. Together, armed with this information, we can fight this menace and save our children!

For more information on meningococcal meningitis and its prevention check: http://www.comomeningitis.org/


References:

  • Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine Meningitis in children
  • MedlinePlus: “Meningitis – meningococcal.”
  • CDC: Meningococcal Vaccines: What You Need to Know

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Disclosure: The views shared are solely Author only.

DISCLAIMER:  The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of public awareness initiative on meningococcal meningitis supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information.

21 Replies to “Meningitis in children – what you need to know #MyfriendAlexa”

  1. Very informative and important post for all the parents. You said it right that being forewarned is forearmed. And when it comes to children we can’t take even the slightest risk. If in doubt, parents should always consult their doctor. Thank you, Dr. Bushra for sharing such an insightful information about Meningitis. Must read for every parent!

  2. Meningitis is a deadly disease which surely needs a lot of awareness. This is a helpful post. Parents need to know that there are preventive ways through vaccinations.

  3. Its important to be aware of all the preventions and dangers of meningitis.Its a very helpful post which will help many people.

  4. Meningitis is often not spoken much about, but my paediatrician shared with me every aspect of it in detail. We got our child vaccinated for this bacterial infection and maintain the due hygiene.

  5. this is such a useful post and every parent should be made aware of this. thanks. as a parent, i didnt know much about the subject

  6. Oh my god! I too was completely unaware of meningitis! I will make sure I explain it to all my friends! And sneezing or coughing on the crook of hand was something new I learnt today!

  7. Having a pediatrician in the family i hear such scary tales about diseases and late diagnosis.in children. Well researched article.

  8. This is such a serious issue that needs to be highlighted. People are still unaware of it and children are vulnerable…thanks for putting up this post…

  9. Accha hai ki aaj awareness k liye itne acche platforms n itne intelligent log bhi hai jo itne acche se samjhate hain 👏👏👏👏👏
    Vaccination tym per lena bhi bahut jaruri hai
    Thanks for post 😍😍

  10. Alarming post I must say .Never knew about such things .Thanks for sharing

  11. Knowing a disease and learning about the symptoms and treatment is half the battle is won. Very informative post Bushra. #IMDAware

  12. I was not aware of such a horrific disease, thanks Dr. Bushra for spreading awareness among the parents about Meningococcal Meningitis.

  13. very informative post, the knowledge of disease would help many. vaccination should be taken for flu.

  14. 15% of the children suffering will be left with life long disabilities? That’s really frightening! People need to know more about these diseases! Thank you for spreading awareness!

  15. Thank you Dr. Bushra for this enlightening post. I totally would recommend each and every parent especially my close friends who are new parents to read this insightful post.

  16. thank you for this post, many are not even aware of this dangerous disease!

  17. When it comes to children, it is better to be over cautious than neglecting any signs or symptoms and taking the risk. Thank you for sharing such an informative post. It is a must read article for all parents.

  18. That’s a very informative and helpful post. It’s a must read for all parents for their kids.

  19. Poornima m reddy says: Reply

    Love the information you give out in each post. This need much more awareness.. a lot of parents are unaware of such things.

  20. Thanks for this post Meningitis is a very dreadfu disease in our family cause we lost a near & dear one because of it. Thanks for this ddetailed post I will take all prevention actions against it.

  21. Amazing and informative post. Meningitis is very necessary to be aware. Very useful precautions and symptoms to keep in mind for the protection of kids. Great insightful thoughts.

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