Newborn babies are at a much higher risk of developing meningitis than any other age group. This is primarily because infants’ immune systems are not fully developed and are more prone to viruses and illnesses. Since the bacteria that causes meningitis can be transferred from mother to baby, prenatal care and virus screening for the disease are critical.
Signs of Meningitis in Infants
Because meningitis can have serious and lasting effects on babies – potentially leading to brain damage, hearing loss, seizures, paralysis, and even death – it’s important to know the signs of meningitis in infants. Babies with meningitis may be:
- Cranky, feed poorly, or be sleepy or hard to wake up;
- Hard to comfort, even when they’re picked up and rocked;
- Feverish or have a bulging fontanelle (soft spot on the head);
- Jaundiced (yellowish tint to the skin);
- Stiff, especially in the neck;
- Nauseous or vomit persistently.
Chills, rapid breathing, cold hands and feet, and a red or dark rash are also signs of meningitis. If your infant has any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor immediately. Although meningitis can be serious, most babies will recover from viral or bacterial meningitis with proper and immediate medical care.
Protecting Your Baby from Meningitis
To protect your infant from meningitis and other illnesses, follow the tips below:
- Keep your baby away from people who are sick or who are coughing, sneezing, or not feeling well;
- Don’t allow people who have cold sores or are prone to cold sores to kiss the baby;
- Wash your hands before preparing food or bottles for the baby;
- Ask others to wash their hands before holding the baby and avoid touching the baby’s face;
- Keep the baby away from large crowds, as well as indoors during prime mosquito activity (usually from dusk to dawn);
- Do not expose your baby to cigarette smoke.
In addition, expectant mothers should get a group B strep test between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy. Women who test positive for group B strep should receive antibiotics during labor to prevent spreading the infection to the baby.
What to Do If You Suspect Meningitis
Meningitis symptoms can occur quickly and can rapidly become serious. As a result, babies should be given emergency medical care if any signs of meningitis appear or if the baby’s behavior is unusual.
If you aren’t sure whether your baby is receiving proper medical care, or if you just want to know more about infant meningitis and your rights under the law, get in contact the attorneys at Pintas & Mullins. All consultations are free and you never pay anything unless you win a settlement or verdict. Call us today at 800-794-0444 or visit us online.
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