What is it?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is most commonly caused by a virus, but can also be bacterial. Most at risk for the disease are children under five, teens and young adults, as well as anyone whose immune system is already compromised. The symptoms of meningitis are a fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, aversion to bright light, drowsiness, distress on handling, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. A baby may have a tense or bulging fontanelle, and be reluctant to feed.

What to do

There is a vaccine against certain types of meningitis, which the government recommends be given to all babies from 6 weeks. If you suspect meningitis, contact your doctor immediately. There is no cure for viral meningitis, but it usually passes fairly quickly. Treatment is with paracetamol to control pain and fever. Bacterial meningitis is more serious and may require hospitalisation. It is treated with anti-biotics.

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.


Want to know what your baby looks like and what you can expect at this stage?



Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.