Meningitis in children: symptoms, causes, treatment methods and complications
Meningitis is a dangerous infectious disease that affects all age groups of people.Often this pathology develops in children, because they have insufficiently developed immunity and there is practically no blood-brain barrier.It is in children that meningitis causes serious complications, and, no matter how quickly and professionally the medical care has been provided to the patient.Table of contents: Causes of infection with meningitis in childhood Symptoms of meningitis in children Treatment of meningitis in children Recommended reading:
Causes of infection with meningitis in childhood
Meningococcal infection is spread by airborne droplets and most often children are infected by it from othersSick people( or bacterial carriers), from animals( mainly from rodents), through dirty objects.
Several pathogens were isolated during the research that provoke the development of the infectious disease under consideration:
- viruses - rubella, smallpox, measles, influenza and others;
- pathogenic bacteria - staphylococcus, meningococcus, hemophilic rod, salmonellosis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa;
- fungus - candida;
- the simplest microorganisms - toxoplasma, amoeba.
According to statistics, in 60-70% of cases, the causative agent of the infectious disease under consideration in children is meningococcus - the carrier of this pathogenic bacterium can be both human and animal.After an airborne drop of meningococcus enters the child's body, the development of the inflammatory process in the meninges begins, which is precisely what is classified in medicine as meningitis.
Symptoms of meningitis in children
Symptoms of meningitis in children are the same as in adults:
- high body temperature and fever;
- headache acute character with a feeling of bursting from the inside;
- increased sensitivity to light( photophobia);
- muscle pain;
- loss of appetite, until complete refusal of food intake.
If infection occurs with a meningococcal infection of an infant, the disease manifests itself as anxiety and a tightening of the fontanel.And the first symptoms of the infectious disease under consideration in children from 2 to 10 years are hyperthermia( fever) and irritability, which are often associated with a rash on the skin and mucous membranes.
Important: If the child has a sudden increase in body temperature to critical levels, persistent vomiting, taut muscles( the child lies with his head thrown back) and convulsions, then urgently seek medical help - on how quickly it will beIt is provided, the prognosis of the disease depends.
Diagnosis of meningitis takes place in a medical institution, the event includes:
- Survey of the patient or his parents - how long ago the symptoms have appeared, how much they are expressed, what diseases were transferred by the child in the recent past( doctors will be interested in viral pathologies);
- examination of the child and confirmation of symptoms of meningitis;
- blood and urine collection for laboratory tests - general, biochemical analyzes.
For diagnosis, doctors also use Kernig's syndrome, a marker of brain damage in cases of stroke, meningitis, irritation of the membranes in bacterial infections, and Brudzinsky's syndrome, which reveals signs of brain damage due to provocation of the meningeal posture.
Important: The main procedure that will "put a stop to" in diagnostic activities is a spinal puncture - a long puncture is made in the lumbar region and a small amount of CSF is taken up for the study( cerebrospinal fluid).With meningitis, the cerebrospinal fluid will be turbid, dense, and a laboratory study of the material will indicate the presence in the cerebrospinal fluid of a high number of leukocytes, pathogenic bacteria.
Treatment of meningitis in children
Therapeutic measures in diagnosing the infectious disease under consideration are carried out exclusively in the hospital - constant monitoring of the child's condition is necessary to be able to prevent the development of severe complications.First of all, the physician should find out the etiology of meningitis in a particular child - it can be bacterial or viral. The
Only after this test medications will be prescribed:
- in case of bacterial etiology of meningitis - antibacterial agents( antibiotics) of a wide spectrum of action( cephalosporins, penicillins and others);
- in viral meningitis - antiviral( Acyclovir, Interferon, Artepol and others).
Please note : antibacterial drugs( antibiotics) may be used for treatment for no more than 7 consecutive days.If it is necessary to continue therapy, it is necessary to replace the drug in order to avoid getting used to the organism and adapting the pathogenic bacteria to the drug.
Meningitis is almost always accompanied by increased intracranial pressure - this is due to the accumulation of a large amount of fluid around the brain, which exerts a strong pressure on it.The child complains of headache attacks, loses sleep and becomes irritable.To remove this syndrome, doctors appoint Furosemide or Lasix.These drugs are a group of diuretics and help to remove excess fluid from the body.
If reception of diuretic medicines has not given results, it is recommended to perform a lumbar puncture - by puncturing a special needle in the lumbar region of the spinal canal, a certain amount of CSF is taken( cerebrospinal fluid).
In 40% of cases, children are concerned about convulsions of the lower extremities - this not only brings pain, but also causes fear and anxiety.To solve the problem, children can be prescribed Seduxen or Domosedan - sedative drugs that are not addictive and do not aggressively affect the central nervous system.
General recommendations for the treatment of meningitis in children
To facilitate the condition of the sick child and to accelerate recovery, the following recommendations should be adhered to:
- the patient should find in a darkened room - this is associated with increased sensitivity to light that passes after the removal of inflammation;
- the child should not be nervous, worried and crying - it is necessary to apply the maximum conditions for creating a healthy psychological environment;
- the body with meningitis is weakened and its immune system requires external help - patients need to take vitamin complexes;
- requires a sparing diet - to avoid hot dishes( even soups should be warm), sweets, fatty foods, marinades and pickles( they have an exciting / irritating effect on the nervous system).
In no case can meningitis be treated in a child solely by domestic means - they are not capable of killing pathogenic bacteria or viruses.But as aids that can support the body during the fight against meningococcal infection, folk recipes will be very appropriate.
Children with diagnosis of meningitis can safely give:
- Decoction of poppy seeds.It is necessary to take a teaspoon of poppy seeds( confectionery, sold in grocery stores) pour 150 ml of boiled hot milk and insist for 12 hours in a thermos bottle.The next day the sick child should be given on a tablespoon of broth three times a day for half an hour before meals.
- Infusion of lavender.It perfectly helps to remove cramps of the lower extremities and has a soothing effect.Prepare the infusion possible from 3 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers and 3 cups of boiling water, the infusion time is 40 minutes.Scheme of application: 50 ml 4 times a day.
- Herbal collection.Mix 20 grams of lavender flowers, valerian roots, rosemary leaves and peppermint, pour the resulting mixture of a glass of steep boiling water, insist 30 minutes.You can take this medicine 100 ml twice a day - in the morning and in the evening.
A good effect in the treatment of meningitis in children have baths and wraps.Baths with infusions of turn, oregano, mint and lemon balm have a soothing effect, provide a full night's sleep and relieve headaches.To perform this procedure, you must prepare the decoction from one or all of the above components and pour it into a bath of warm water( the proportions of dry ingredients and water are taken arbitrarily).The time of the child's stay in the bath should not exceed 20 minutes, the water should be warm( not hot).
Wraps perfectly help with convulsive syndrome - the child simply wraps a sheet moistened with saline( a tablespoon to a glass of warm water).The time in the sheet is 20 minutes.
Headaches with meningitis in children can be removed and a compress made of alcohol tincture of mint - for 100 ml of alcohol take 50 g of peppermint leaves, insist for a day.Then you need to moisten the napkin( gauze, rags) in the tincture and apply to the temples and the back of the head during an exacerbation of the headache for no more than 10 minutes.
Important : any folk remedies for the treatment of meningitis in children can only be used after consultation with the doctor in charge.
After the course of treatment for meningitis in the child is over, the patient should be observed at the neurologist for several more months( at least 2) - it is possible to develop severe consequences even after some time after seemingly successful treatment.The child is not allowed to exercise and stay in the open sun for another 5 months after getting rid of meningococcal infection.
Possible complications of meningitis in children
If the child has been diagnosed with serous meningitis( without the formation of purulent contents), then with timely access to medical care, no infection will cause any complications. But in case of delay or refusal to take medicines in children against a background of meningitis,
- develops sleep disorders;
- incomplete perception of the submitted information;
- memory degradation;
- often recurring headaches;
- spontaneous convulsive syndrome.
IMPORTANT: , similar effects have an undefined intensity, can appear within 5 years after the treatment of meningitis, but in a more adult age completely disappear.
In the case of meningitis in children in a complicated form, if the disease is purulent, the central nervous system is affected.In this case, the consequences will be very severe:
- violation in the operation of the speech device;
- worsening of hearing and vision, up to the total loss of these functions;
- lag in the mental development of the child;
- dysfunction of the motor apparatus;
- paralysis and paresis;
Very dangerous complications that are diagnosed against the background of meningitis in children in 5% of cases are:
- re-development of the inflammatory process in the meninges;
- development of inflammation in the brain( encephalitis);
- violation of cardiac and respiratory activity;
- cerebral edema;
- intracranial hypertension( persistent elevated intracranial pressure).
After complete treatment of meningitis, children need rehabilitation - it is performed in specialized sanatoriums and clinics.For 5 years after the removal of the diagnosis, a child should receive a sanatorium-resort treatment every year and take preventive examinations with doctors.
Read more about symptoms, signs of meningitis in children, and treatment methods - in the video review:
Tsygankova Yana Aleksandrovna, medical reviewer, therapeutist of the highest qualification category.