Bacterial Meningitis in Children
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on May 1, 2023.
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 confusion, a high fever, stiff neck, and headache.
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 or she 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.
Isolation safety measures
may be used if your child has an infection that can be passed from person to person. Healthcare providers and visitors may need to wear gloves, a face mask, or a gown. Visitors should wash their hands before leaving to keep from spreading germs.
or neuro checks, show healthcare providers your child's brain function. They will check how your child's pupils react to light. They may check your child's memory and how easily he or she wakes up. Your child's hand grasp and balance may also be tested.
- Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection.
- Steroids decrease redness, pain, and swelling.
- Seizure medicine helps control seizures.
The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.
- Blood tests are used to check for the bacteria that cause meningitis.
- CT or MRI pictures may show signs of infection. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his or her body.
- A lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, is a procedure used to take a sample of fluid that surrounds your child's spinal cord. Your child's healthcare provider will insert a needle into his or her spine. The fluid will be taken through the needle. The fluid will be tested for the bacteria that cause meningitis.
- A throat culture is a test that may help find the type of germ causing your child's illness. A throat culture is done by rubbing a cotton swab against the back of the throat.
Your child may become very sick. His or her brain may swell and cause seizures. Without early treatment, your child's brain and other organs could be damaged. He or she may have hearing, vision, speech, or behavior problems. Untreated bacterial meningitis can cause paralysis or death.
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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.
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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.
Learn more about Bacterial Meningitis
Symptoms and treatments
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