Babies Are Also Affected By Meningitis #A2ZChallenge

Babies are not even aware that they are stepping out from a safe environment to a world where they are vulnerable to infections and other diseases.

A child can get ill due to many viruses and bacterias present in our surroundings. Today I will discuss yet another disease which is caused by both a virus and a bacteria. People of any age can get Meningitis but here I will discuss it in babies only.

So the first question, what is meningitis? It is a condition which causes swelling to be appropriate inflammation in the meninges of the brain and the spinal cord. Meninges are the protective layers around the spinal cord and the brain. Since here I am discussing its effect in babies, thus it should be known that babies who are younger than 2 months are at a greater risk of getting meningitis. Meningitis could be fatal in some babies while in others it may have lasting effects. Having said this, serious complications can be avoided with on-time treatment.

When meningitis strikes it can quickly spread and become serious. Some babies become irritable but still, an awareness of the symptoms is must so that medical treatment can be started. The common symptoms in babies are:

  • Bulging of the fontanel. Fontanel is the soft spot on the head. This bulging is due to an increase in the pressure or accumulation of fluid in the brain
  • Hands and feet will be cold while the stomach may be warm
  • Chills may be experienced irrespective of fever
  • Stiff neck. This leads to stiffness in the child and they may hold their head tilted back with the body in a stiff position
  • Irritable and cranky baby. Does not like to be picked up
  • Refuse to eat food
  • Constant vomiting
  • Heavy breathing
  • Red rashes or marks visible on the body
  • Sleepy baby so much so that it is impossible to wake them from their sleep
  • Fever

If you notice that a baby has a fever along with a rash and looks ill seek immediate treatment.

What causes meningitis in babies

In babies, meningitis can be caused by virus or bacterias. Bacterial meningitis is considered to be more dangerous than viral one, though immediate treatment is required in both. Different bacteria and viruses cause this condition.

Bacterial Meningitis: As mentioned these may be of different types. Commonly the bacteria may be passed from a mother to her baby or through coughing, sneezing, kissing and through saliva. Some bacteria also pass to a baby when a mother eats contaminated food. This is mostly at the time of delivery.

Viral Meningitis: These include viruses like influenza (coughing, sneezing), Herpes Simplex Virus (kissing and an infected mother can pass it to her baby), Varicella-zoster virus (breathing, talking and coming in contact with infected blisters). These viruses do not cause meningitis in adults. Since the immune system in babies is not fully developed they are prone to develop meningitis through these viruses.

Meningitis can spread from one person to another. In this case, it is important to protect babies since their immune system is not developed fully and they have not received all their vaccines. Here are some ways by which we can protect babies not only from meningitis but also from other illnesses:

  • Avoid taking the newborn to a crowded place
  • Discourage people from kissing babies for the fact that they may have sores or other infections which could be passed on to the baby
  • Keep baby away from large crowds and people who have a fever, or are sneezing and coughing
  • Encourage people to wash their hands before touching the baby
  • Ensure that your hands are washed and bottles are sterilised when preparing milk for them
  • Avoid taking the babies outside in the evening when the mosquito activity is at its prime
  • Do not expose a baby to cigarette smoke as this increases the risk of viral and bacterial illnesses

These tips do make sense. A newborn should be protected. We should not put them at risk as they have an underdeveloped immune system.

Also Read:

A – Autism, B – Bronchiolitis, C – Celiac Disease, D – Dyslexia, E – Eating Disorders, F – Fever, G – GERD, H – Hand Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD), I – Imaginary Friends, J – Juvenile Arthritis, K – Kawasaki Disease, L – Leukaemia

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Shubhra Rastogi Written by:

Well, about me I can say that I am a certified dentist, healthcare analyst, medical writer and above all a mother of a 6-year-old. Most of my day to day activities revolve around her and she is my inspiration to start this blog. As a mother, I experimented with a lot of new things for my little one in a quest to find the best for her. I just want to share my experiences of being a happy and content mum.

33 Comments

  1. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    Again a very informative post. I learned about Meningitis just after my delivery when my doc explained to me about a few illness kids are prone to. Thanks for this detailed post.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      you are welcome Vartika! Thanks for visiting by

  2. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    I never knew kids could get meningitis. These symptoms are so hard on babies. You are doing a great job by spreading awareness.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Sanjota!

  3. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    A very informative post. Have got both my kids vaccinated for meningitis but never knew so much about it.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Anupriya!

  4. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    A very informative post

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Mansi

  5. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    This was another informative posts. You are spreading great awareness through your posts.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Sonia

  6. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    That’s an informative post Shubhra. It’s important to spread awareness on symptoms.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Ramya

  7. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    A very informative post thanks for all the details

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Suhasini

  8. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    Meningitis is a serious disease. While gram positive ones are treatable. Gram negative infection are increasingly becoming resistant. The problem is complicated because drugs may not be able to enter brain because of their size, structure and permeability of brain barrier.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Yes true…

  9. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    Your posts are really wonderful and you are doing a fantastic job of spreading awareness. Thankyou

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Rashi

  10. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    Such a piece of great information with impressive infographic..you had covered all points about meningitis in kids so well. keep sharing such useful information.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Surabhi

  11. Noor Anand Chawla
    April 15, 2019
    Reply

    Such an informative post Shubhra. We had once had a meningitis scare for our son when he was 13 months old, but thankfully it was only a viral. (Touchwood).

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Yes, we often see these traditions as backward but they do have a hidden message in them. Thanks for visiting by.

  12. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    My youngest granddaughter contracted viral meningitis at 2 weeks of age. It was God who alerted my daughter-in-love that something was wrong. She checked her temp and it was slightly elevated, but she didn’t hesitate. She drove immediately to the hospital and once she got there her fever had spiked. Had she not acted so quickly it could have been much worse. As it was she was in the hospital for 5 days. She got it from her big brother who was 2 years old and sick with a virus. So grateful she is 3 and healthy. They monitored her hearing for the first year and has no lasting effects from the disease. We thank God everyday for this precious little girl.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      I am so glad to hear that your granddaughter is fine now. Debi, it is the faith we have in God that guides us to do things. Sending warm wishes across.

  13. April 15, 2019
    Reply

    I was not aware of Meningitis in babies. I always thought it was a disease that affected only adults. And thanks for elaborating on the mechanism of how it spreads and the different varieties like bacterial and viral meningitis.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Thank you so much

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Vidhya

  14. Danjay Reyes
    April 15, 2019
    Reply

    Babies are the ones that are really susceptible to meningitis compared to adults.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 15, 2019
      Reply

      Totally agree with you. Thanks for visiting by!

  15. April 16, 2019
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing yet another enlightening and informative post, Shubhra. It’s important to know how it spreads and how it can be prevented.

  16. April 17, 2019
    Reply

    What a great informative post that needs to be read by anyone with a little one! It’s scary when a baby is sick, especially when something like meningitis hits suddenly.

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