Signs, symptoms of Meningitis - WSMV Channel 4

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Signs, symptoms of Meningitis

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Meningitis is a relatively uncommon disease but it strikes quick and can be deadly especially in young children.

Parents need to act immediately if your child shows any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • High fever
  • Stiffness in the neck, shoulders
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Light sensitivity
  • Rash
  • Vomiting

These symptoms usually worsen rapidly.

Viral meningitis

You've probably heard meningitis called either a viral or bacterial infection, but you may not know the difference between the two.

Viral meningitis is usually caused by another viral disease such as the flu and is much more common than the bacterial form.

Viral meningitis is considered extremely contagious, but doctors say it's rarely fatal. Patients usually show symptoms for a week or two, then see a full recovery.

Bacterial meningitis

On the other hand, bacterial meningitis is considered a critical illness that is usually caused by an internal infection and can worsen in a matter of hours.

Complications could cause permanent hearing or vision loss, brain damage, paralysis and even death.

Bacterial meningitis is usually only spread by coughing or sneezing.

Similar symptoms for both

Both versions exhibit the same symptoms, so it's impossible to tell which version your child has without a doctor.

The only way to test for meningitis is through spinal fluid testing, so you need to take your child to the doctor immediately if they start showing these symptoms.

Click to view the Center for Disease Control's meningitis section.

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