Not common but serious and contagious

Babies and toddlers are most vulnerable as they cannot easily fight infection because their immune system is not yet fully developed. They can’t tell you how they are feeling and can get a lot worse very quickly. Keep checking them.

Meningitis is a swelling around the brain. It is a very serious, contagious illness, but if it is treated early most children make a full recovery.

You should always treat any case of suspected Meningitis as an emergency.

Early signs may be like having a cold or flu. Children with Meningitis can become seriously ill very fast, so make sure you can spot the signs. Your child may have a cluster of red or purple spots. Do the glass test. This rash can be harder to see on darker skin, so check for spots over your baby or child’s whole body as it can start anywhere (check lightest areas first). However, the rash is not always present – be aware of all the signs/symptoms.

The presence of fever and any other of the symptoms listed under Doctor says should be taken extremely seriously. Not all children will show all the signs listed.

If any of the signs below are present contact your Practice Nurse or GP:

  • Fever, cold hands and feet
  • Floppy and unresponsive
  • Drowsy and difficult to wake
  • Spots/rash. Do the glass test
  • Rapid breathing or grunting
  • Fretful, dislikes being handled
  • Unusual cry or moaning

The Glass Test

Do the ‘Glass Test’ if your child has a rash. Press a glass tumbler firmly against the rash. If you can see the spots through the glass and they do not fade as you press the glass onto the skin, then this is called a ‘non-blanching rash’. If you see this type of rash, seek medical advice immediately. The rash is harder to see on dark skin so check paler areas, such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and tummy.

Treat all cases of suspected Meningitis as an emergency. If the spots do not fade under pressure call 999 or go to A&E.

If you are worried contact a Practice Nurse or your GP or call NHS 111. If you cannot get help straight away go to A&E.