World Meningitis Day

Today is World Meningitis Day. This is something I, and many other parents, are keen to raise awareness of.  
So, I have included some information below which I hope will be helpful to everyone!

What is meningitis?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is caused when germs infect the fluid which circulates around the brain and spinal cord. Septicemia is the blood poisoning form of the disease, which can cause shock, multiple organ failure and tissue destruction.
Meningitis and septicemia can affect anyone. However, the majority of cases occur in children under five years with those under one year most at risk.

– Bacterial meningitis and septicemia kill more children under five than any other infectious disease in the UK , with babies most at risk .
– The leading cause of bacterial meningitis is meningococcal disease . 
– Children aren’t protected against all forms of meningitis and parents should therefore remain vigilant for the signs and symptoms of meningitis.
– “One of the biggest myths is that children are protected against all types of meningitis through vaccination and this is, in reality, not the case”, says Dr Nelly Ninis, Consultant Paediatrician at St Mary’s Hospital London and supporter of the Meningitis: Keep Watching campaign. “Children are only protected against some types of meningitis so parents must be aware of the signs and seek urgent medical help as this disease can maim or kill within hours.”
– Anyone can catch bacterial meningitis at any time. As many as one in ten of those infected will die and up to one in five survivors will be left with after-effects including brain damage, amputations and hearing loss which may require ongoing care.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis and septicemia.
Sudden and aggressive, meningitis and septicemia can kill within 24 hours of symptom onset. Symptoms can often resemble the flu, making it easily misdiagnosed in its early stages, even for experienced healthcare professionals . 

Symptoms may appear in any order and some may not appear at all. They may include some or all of the following :

• Fever
• Vomiting
• Severe headache
• Painfully stiff neck
• Sensitivity to light
• Very sleepy
• Confusion
• Seizures
• Non blanching rash (doesn’t disappear under pressure)

You can find out more about Meningitis, and how to stay aware on the Meningitis, Keep Watching Facebook page or on the Meningitis Trust website

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