Bacterial Meningitis In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Bacterial meningitis is inflammation of the lining that surrounds and protects your child's brain and spinal cord. The inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection and can be life-threatening. The most common symptoms include a high fever, stiff neck, and headache.
CARE AGREEMENT:You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.
Your child may be very sick with bacterial meningitis. His brain may swell and he could have seizures. Without early treatment, your child's brain and other organs could be damaged. He may have hearing, vision, speech, or behavior problems. Untreated bacterial meningitis can cause paralysis or death.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.
Your child may be in isolation if he has an infection or disease that he can spread to others. Caregivers and visitors may need to wear gloves, a face mask, and a gown. Everyone should wash their hands before and after visiting your child.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
- Anticonvulsant medicine: Anticonvulsants are given to control your child's seizures.
- Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your child's stomach and control vomiting.
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines are given to decrease your child's pain and fever. They can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine is safe to give your child, and how often to give it.
- Steroids: Steroids may be given to decrease inflammation. This medicine can help your child feel better but may also have side effects. Be sure you understand why your child needs steroids.
- Blood tests: Your child may need blood tests to give caregivers information about how his body is working. The blood may be taken from your child's arm, hand, finger, foot, heel, or IV.
- Lumbar puncture: This procedure may also be called a spinal tap. A small needle is placed into your child's lower back. Fluid will be removed from around your child's spinal cord and sent to the lab for tests. The test is done to check for bleeding around your child's brain and spinal cord, and for infection. This procedure may also be done to take pressure off your child's brain and spinal cord, or to give medicine. Your child may need to be held in place so that he does not move during the procedure.
- Neurologic signs: These are also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. During a neuro check, caregivers see how your child's pupils react to light. They may check his memory and how easily he wakes up. His hand grasp and balance may also be tested. How your child responds to the neuro checks can tell caregivers if his illness or injury has affected his brain.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.