What is Meningitis?
Meningitis is a sort of infection in the membranes around the regions that surround the areas of the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can affect anyone but in general most of the babies, young children and adults are seen to come up with several symptoms of meningitis. This disease is life threatening if not diagnosed and treated In the early times because it is believed to cause blood poisoning and may also result in causing permanent damage to brain nerves and other regions of the spinal cord.
Hallmark Signs and Symptoms of Meningitis
Spotting the symptoms of meningitis is not an easy task because people most often confuse the symptoms of meningitis with the flu.
Rather, it is possible that meningitis may arise on the heels of some flu or infection. So, it is very important to stay alerted at the early stage and act quickly. Our alertness can save somebody’s life.
- At the early stage, the symptoms of meningitis may include fever, headache.
- The patient may suffer from acute neck pain and stiffness.
- Also, there may be some signs of limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands.
- The patient may start to have a dislike to brightness and dark colors.
- Grunting or rapid breathing by patient or baby.
- In the worst cases, seizures(fits) may also be seen.
Bulging fontanelle(Symptoms of meningitis in babies)
In children one year or younger there may be signs of bulging fontanelle.
A bulging fontanelle is always an indication of the emergency, and you must take your baby to an emergency room immediately.
Bulging fontanelle may include:
- Swelling of brain due to some infection
- Fluid buildup in the brain due to narrowing of ventricles that helps channel fluid out.
If these symptoms are spotted in your child, don’t wait for the conditions to get worse seek medical help immediately.
If the Meningeal signs persist for greater than three days of antibiotic therapy of meningitis you need to consider a para meningeal suppurative focus.
Signs of Meningeal Irritation includes the following:
Nuchal rigidity is usually attributed to Meningeal infection. This involves impaired neck flexion resulting from muscle spasm.
To find out the signs of nuchal rigidity steps involve:
- First of all, you need to relax the neck muscles by bringing the supine patient to the edge of the bed. Now slowly allow the head to hang outside the bed for a few seconds. Breathe deeply.
- Now, under the supine patient’s head place your hand. At this point of time gently try to flex the neck and touch the chin to chest.
- If there is some undue resistance discovered, then it implies some diffuse irritation of cervical nerve roots occurring out of meningeal inflammation.
Kerning’s sign involves flexing the hip muscle and knee on one side while the patient is to be in supine.
- While the hip is still flexed extend the knee.
- If hamstring spasm in the posterior thigh results in pain and there is difficulty with knee extension, then the signs are positive.
- If there is some severe inflammation of meninges, the opposite knee may also flex.
Brudzinski’s neck sign
This sign is more severe than kerning’s sign and the patient is on high alert at this point of time.
- While the patient is in supine, you need to keep one hand on the patient’s chest and the other in the head region.
- Now you need to perform some flexing with your hand behind the head region. Keep your one hand on the chest restraining him from rising.
- If the patient starts flexing hips and knees, then the patient is suffering from meningitis.
Brudzinski’s contralateral reflex sign
The contralateral reflex sign involves two components which are identical contralateral reflex and reciprocal contralateral reflex.
In the same contralateral reflex sign, the contralateral legs will start bending in reflex if there is a passive flex on patient’s hip. In the reciprocal contralateral reflex sign, if the contralateral legs begin to extend spontaneously then the signs are positive.
The Glass Test
Press the side of the clear glass with utmost pressure against the side of the skin. If the rash doesn’t fade in some span of time, then this may be the sign of meningococcal septicemia.
If a person is having this test positive, then he can have a rash of tiny ‘pin pricks’ which will later develop into purple bruising over the parts of the body.
Any fever with this sort of rash should be taken seriously, and you must rush to the doctor in an emergency to seek medical help.