Meningitis in Children (cont.)
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Symptoms and Signs of Meningitis in Children
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In infants, the signs and symptoms of meningitis are not always obvious due to the infant's inability to communicate symptoms. Therefore, caregivers (parents, relatives, guardians) must pay very close attention to the infant's overall condition. The following is a list of possible symptoms seen in infants or children with bacterial meningitis (bacterial meningitis at any age is considered a medical emergency):
Symptoms of viral meningitis most commonly resemble those of the flu (fever, muscle aches, cough, headache but some may have one or more of the symptoms listed above for bacterial meningitis), but the symptoms are usually considerably milder.
When to Seek Medical Care
If a caregiver is concerned that a child has developed meningitis, immediate medical evaluation of the child is essential. Because meningitis is a medical emergency, treatment at a hospital's emergency department is more appropriate than at a doctor's office. If transportation is not available, a caregiver should immediately call 911 for emergency medical services to have the child brought to a hospital's emergency department.
Meningitis is a disease that needs prompt diagnosis and aggressive treatment, especially if it is bacterial. A doctor must perform specific tests to check for the type (usually bacterial or viral) of meningitis. Meningitis cannot be diagnosed over the phone or simply based on a telephone description of the situation.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/2/2014
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