That got your attention and rightly so, let’s be honest when we see a rash it’s the first thing we think of, it’s the most severe of all the rashes and should be the very first thing we check for, to hopefully rule out the condition. However not all rashes are meningitis, and not every case of meningitis has a rash.
What is Meningitis?
Meningitis is an infection of the lining, (the meninges) that surrounds the brain. It can be caused either by bacteria or by a virus, it’s a serious infection and can progress rapidly. Babies, young children, teenagers, and those who are immune compromised are most at risk. Viral meningitis is more common and thankfully often has less serious complications.
What are the symptoms?
Apart from the rash, (which often happens in later stages) there are a number of other meningitis symptoms to look out for, including:
- Severe headache
- Fever, high temperature
- Sleepy, drowsiness or difficult to wake
- Confused, delirious, dis-orientated
- Rash anywhere on the body (remember to check soles of feet, inside mouth, eye lids)
- Stiff neck or dislike of bright lights (both uncommon in young children)
- Seizures (fits)
These symptoms can appear in any order, and some may not appear at all. Meningitis is scary there is no denying that, but I cannot stress highly enough how prompt action can save the persons life. I have sadly seen many cases of it and have been delighted to help the hospital doctors rule out many others. The one common factor in all of the cases I have assisted with is time; In each case the child has gone downhill rapidly. I don’t mean in days, meningitis can literally kill in hours. If your child is rapidly becoming worse then get help immediately.
What does the rash look like?
The rash associated with meningitis does not blanch when an ordinary glass tumbler is pressed upon it. It does not alter, fade, or change in any way.
There are a number of other rashes that your child may develop at some time. Heat rash, viral rash, allergic rash to soap or laundry products, food allergy rash and that’s to name just a few.
If you are in doubt as to what the rash is, always perform the glass test first. If you are still in any doubt then seek emergency medical help.
Even doctors can find it hard to diagnose some rashes so you’re certainly not expected to know them all. However for your own piece of mind find out the signs and symptoms of meningitis.
While not every person that contracts meningitis will fully recover, the chances are significant higher the earlier you get help. According to studies the chance of complications after viral meningitis are rare.
With bacterial meningitis, the risk of long term complications are believed to be much higher
If you think first aid training might help we have a variety of paediatric courses for early years settings which you can view here