Meningitis-Symptoms,Prevention And Treatment.
Meningitis is a very serious infection of the brain, more common in children. It may begin as a complication of another illness such as measles, mumps, whooping cough or an ear infection.
Children of mothers who have tuberculosis sometimes get tubercular meningitis in the first few months of life.
- Severe headache.
- Stiff neck. The child looks very ill and lies with his or her head and neck bent back.
- The back is too stiff to put the head between the knees.
- In babies under a year old, the fontanel (soft spot on top of the head) bulges upward.
- Vomiting is common.
- Little children cry in a piercing way (the meningitic cry). This can be very aggravating to the health worker. Even the mother cannot quieten the child by giving the child her breast. The child remains restless and noisy.
- The child often gets worse and worse, and only becomes quiet when he loses consciousness completely.
- Sometimes there are fits (convulsions) or strange movements.
- Tubercular meningitis develops slowly over days or weeks. Other forms of meningitis come on more quickly in hours or days.
For prevention of tubercular meningitis, newborn babies of mothers with tuberculosis should be vaccinated with B.C.G (Bacillus Calmette Guerin) at birth. Dose for the newborn is 0.05 ml. (half the normal dose of 0.1 ml).
Get medical help fast because every minute counts. If possible, take the person to a hospital.
- Inject ampicillin- 500 mg. every 4 hours or crystalline penicillin-1,000,000 U. every 4 hours.
- If there is high fever (more than 40 percent), lower it with wet cloths and aspirin or acetaminophen (paracetamol).
- If the mother has tuberculosis or if you have any other reason to suspect that the child has tubercular meningitis, inject him or her with 0.2 ml of streptomycin for each 5 kilos he or she weighs and get medical help at once. Also use ampicillin or penicillin in case the meningitis is not from TB.