Meningitis in children. This disease is no longer terrifies one generation of parents. Remember, even in childhood we are constantly frightened parents - "immediately put on a hat, or cold and you get meningitis?" Probably all familiar phrase. However, the child usually does not go into the details of what kind of disease such - meningitis, and therefore refers to it very lightly. And just as adults and with the appearance of their children, parents are beginning to become more aware of the fear of the disease.
Do parents have a lot of questions, one way or another connected with the disease. This article is designed to help parents understand, whether so devil as he is painted - in the case of meningitis in children.
The causes of the disease
So what is meningitis? Doctors called as an inflammatory process that involves the shell as a spinal and brain. Please note - it is inflamed lining of the brain, not his own cell. In other words, the inflammatory process in meningitis develops outside the brain or spinal cord.
Of course, any inflammatory process should be triggered by any other factors. And meningitis are also not an exception - its development can provoke a variety of pathogens, such as fungi, viruses and bacteria. And a lot depends on the state of the body of the child at the time of penetration of pathogenic bacteria. Yes, and the general condition of the child is also extremely important.
For example, there is a misconception that it is a purely meningitis childhood disease. However, this is not the case - a person can become ill with meningitis completely at any age. Why are formed such an opinion? The reason is very simple - the worse the body's immune system works, the higher the risk of meningitis. And in children, by definition, the immune system is not yet sufficiently mature - it's physiological features are the child's body. And, therefore, the children are more prone to the disease - these are misleading and explained that meningitis - exclusively a childhood disease.
But among children, there are also certain risk groups, whose chances of contracting meningitis is much higher than all the others. These risk groups include:
- Premature babies. Children who were born prematurely, more often exposed to the disease. And this fact is explained by the fact that the immunity of a premature baby is much more immature, and it is very difficult to resist the pathogenic bacteria. Parents of such children should be particularly careful with regard to the state of health of the child.
- Violation of the nervous system. Monitoring of children's doctors, greatly increases the risk of meningitis and disruption of the normal functioning of the central nervous system in children. And the more serious the disease, the higher the risk of meningitis. As a rule, without exception, children's doctors - neurologists are aware of this feature and carefully monitor the health of their young patients.
- Injury to the brain or spinal cord. It is a common cause of meningitis in a child are different spinal or brain. Pathogens is much easier to get injured in the shell, unable to resist this invasion. That is why in most cases, trauma brain or spinal cord almost all children, doctors prescribe antibiotics in prophylactic doses. Such a measure designed to reduce the risk of initiation and development of the disease in children.
Of course, there are many other causes that can trigger the development of meningitis in children. However, talk about everything - is difficult, must be limited to only the most common causes of which have been mentioned above.
Very often frightened parents who are faced with this disease, ask your doctor about what consequences may result in meningitis in children. The answer to this question is ambiguous. Most often it passes almost unnoticed meningitis, leaving no effects or complications. As a rule, exactly what happens under the condition that the disease is diagnosed in a timely manner, and the treatment was suitable and competent.
However, very often, but still there are exceptions to this rule. Complications can occur, and sometimes quite serious, such as a partial or complete loss of vision, hearing loss or deafness does, a strong delay in the child's development - both in the physical and in the mental. In severe cases, a child can fall into a coma or die altogether. Usually, such dire complications occur in the event that the parents do not seek medical help, or pay too late.
Fortunately, these complications are less and less. For medical statistics, currently complications of meningitis occur in not more than 2% of all cases. And repeated meningitis in children occurs very rarely and - as a rule, only if the treatment was inappropriate, and cure disease is not fully succeeded.
Most often this happens in the event that the parents were engaged in self-medicate. Independent use antibiotics and other medicines, if you are very lucky, only for a very short period of time to eliminate the symptoms of the disease. Therefore, in order to avoid such terrible consequences, at the first sign of the disease, you must immediately seek medical help from doctors.
Signs of meningitis
Meningitis in children occurs in a very clear form. Experienced doctors to diagnose the disease is not worth a lot of effort - its symptoms are too specific and easily recognizable. Parents of young children should also know the basic symptoms of the disease not to miss the beginning. Meningitis in children, symptoms include:
- Increased body temperature. The body temperature of the child rises very sharply and to a very high numbers - up to 40 degrees and above. The baby is very lethargic or, on the contrary, excited, can sleep a long time away, or cry uncontrollably for a very long time - it all depends on the individual and the central nervous system of the child. In addition, often in such a state child can experience strong sense of chill. Older children may complain to parents that they are cold, the younger just simply shake. Shoot down a similar temperature, giving as when acute respiratory illness antipyretic, almost unreal.
- The appearance of the rash. As a rule, in the first, and less during the second day of the disease in all children, without exception, there is a pronounced purpura.
- Meningeal symptoms. At about the same time it appears and the first meningeal symptoms that doctors detected during examination of the child. First the doctor will make a puncture of the cerebrospinal fluid. As a rule, its subsequent investigation found that it is either a dairy or a dirty yellow color, cloudy. The content therein of leukocytes and neutrophils in largely increased, and in the cytoplasm can be detected bean shaped diplococci, and the protein content is increased. The content of glucose greatly reduced. If you make a crop, you can easily determine the type of pathogen, which has led the development of meningitis.
In the study of blood test found a sick child is very pronounced changes indicative of a strong inflammatory process occurring in the body. All these signs clearly indicate that the child is ill with meningitis, and requires immediate treatment.
Types of Meningitis
There are several types of meningitis in children. These species depend on exactly which pathogen has caused the development of a child of meningitis. Doctors have identified a number of basic types of the disease:
In the event that meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, doctors say about pneumococcal meningitis. Very often, the disease is preceded by either pneumonia or sinusitis or acute otitis media. However, this is not a requirement - about half of all babies infected this type of meningitis is the primary, without any - any previous illnesses.
The disease begins to appear quickly enough and in the acute form, but directly meningeal syndrome manifests itself a little later than in all other cases - by about the third day, not before. However, the progression of this type of meningitis is very, very active - very quickly comes clouding of consciousness of the child, the development of nerve paresis.
During the lumbar puncture you may find that the cerebrospinal fluid contains a large percentage of pus, white blood cells and pneumococci. This form of the disease is one of the most dangerous of all. Doctors explain this feature in that the inflammatory process involved is extremely fast and the ventricles of the brain, and its very substance. That is why parents need as quickly as possible, at the first symptoms of the disease, seek medical help from a doctor.
- Haemophilus influenzae meningitis
This type of meningitis is triggered by Haemophilus influenzae. Most often this disease affects children aged up to one year, but in the older age it can also occur. The first manifestations of the disease can be very different - just as the acute meningeal and the catarrhal, similar to those typical of acute respiratory diseases - runny nose, cough, sore throat. In the latter case directly meningeal symptoms appear already in the fourth, or even fifth day.
And doctors warn parents of young children, so they were extremely attentive to the slightest indisposition of their baby. And with the appearance of symptoms such as frequent regurgitation, vomiting, excessive swelling of the fontanelle, the termination of its pulsation and wanton cry, you should immediately call the brigade "first aid" or independently to deliver the child to a medical facility.
In that case, if the development of meningitis occurs because of certain viruses, onset of disease will also be slightly different. Strictly speaking, the disease occurs in two stages - first the child develops a viral disease, and after - there are signs of meningitis. However, meningeal syndrome manifests itself a little differently than in other cases. Despite the fact that the sick child is experiencing severe headaches and depressed overall themselves meningeal symptoms are quite weak. Often, they are not always expressed in full, and disorders of consciousness, which is typical for all other forms of meningitis, in this situation is not seen.
Changes in the blood in this situation most similar to those that occur in the baby's blood, the patient's viral diseases than those that occur with meningitis. However, if the child is not receiving adequate and timely treatment, a few days later, these changes may occur.
TB meningitis is the most rarely seen type of the disease, but, unfortunately, also have a place to be. More recently, the death rate in this type of meningitis has been high enough in recent years, modern medicine has learned to cope well with the problem and mortality virtually eliminated.
However, tuberculous meningitis, and today is a major threat to the health and life of a child. It also manifests itself quite unusual, and for atypical characteristic of him. Therefore, there is a real risk that the disease will be diagnosed untimely, and accordingly, and start treatment as untimely, resulting in a very large amount of time is lost. And to cope with the disease is extremely difficult. Typically, the disease begins with fever, whereupon he begins vomiting and headaches.
The problems in the diagnosis of meningitis
In some cases, diagnosis of meningitis is too difficult even for experienced doctors. This happens if doctors or parents themselves, considering that the child has a particular inflammatory disease begin treatment with antibacterial drugs. As a result, the clinical picture of meningitis became slurred. Thus, for example, fever expressed not so much - the body temperature can be maintained at 37 - 38 degrees. Headache is also not as strong as usual, but is regular. Nausea and vomiting almost always present, and quite exhausting.
Treatment of meningitis
More impose upon treatment of meningitis has no meaning - self in this situation is by no means unacceptable. Treatment should only be done under strict medical supervision and only in a hospital. This requirement is due to the fact that meningitis is a very insidious disease - the child may become critical and may require emergency resuscitation, which are possible only in a hospital setting.
Doctors will conduct a full examination of your child and appoint necessary treatment that will help fast enough to suppress pathogenic bacteria. And very soon the disease your child will be over, provided that you promptly seek medical attention.
Often parents ask the children's district doctors question of whether the vaccine is effective against meningitis children. On the one hand, such a measure can be quite effective in certain cases - the period of increased fixation of the disease, in disadvantaged areas, children might be at risk.
However, we must not forget that the vaccine is able to protect the child only on a particular type of meningitis - but far from all its varieties. So always the risk that the child is still faced with meningitis. And in any case, the vaccine protects the child of not more than 4 years. After that, you need the following vaccination.
And no other means of non-specific prevention of this disease does not exist. The only thing that parents can do - is to be attentive to the health of their child. And at the first symptoms of meningitis as soon as possible, seek medical help. This will help save not only health, but also the child's life.