A bacterial infection that can start without warning and become very serious, very quickly, meningococcal infection can cause permanent disabilities and death. One in ten people with meningococcal will die. You must go straight to the ER of your nearest hospital if you suspect your child may have a meningococcal infection.
signs and symptoms
The symptoms of meningococcal in babies can be harder to detect than in older children and adults. They include:
- Fever above 38.
- High pitched moaning cry.
- Refusing/not waking for feeds.
- Pale or blotchy skin.
- A rash consisting of small red or purple dots or bruises that does not turn white/skin cloured when pressed on.
Symptoms in older children include:
- High fever (over 39).
- Severe headache.
- Stiffness/pain in neck, shoulders, back and other muscles.
- Small bright red or purple spots or unexplained bruises that do not blanch (turn skin-coloured) when you press on them.
- Pressing on the spots with a glass may help you to see more clearly if they are blanching or non-blanching.
- Aversion to bright light.
- Lethargy, confusion.
- Nausea and vomiting.
when to seek medical advice
You should go straight to your nearest emergency room if your child is showing symptoms of meningococcal.
…and how to maintain perspective!!
Meningococcal infection is a serious illness, but it’s also not easily spread. Although it can be spread via droplets from sneezing, coughing, and sharing cutlery and cups etc, the bacteria cannot survive for very long outside of the body. Lots of people carry the bacteria in their noses and throats and don’t get sick. You can help protect your child by ensuring they have their meningococcal vaccination at twelve months. This protects against four out of the thirteen strains of meningococcal bacteria. Vaccines that prevent other strains of meningococcal bacteria are available, but not covered by the government. If you would like to purchase these vaccines, you should talk to your GP.