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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Remind me of the symptoms of meningitis... and then calm me down please!

(25 Posts)
ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sun 17-Nov-13 20:44:14

DS (2yo) is poorly. He was lethargic all day yesterday and clingy/tired/weepy all day today. He's eaten fine. His nappies are a little drier than normal, but nothing major. When asked what was wrong he said his knees hurt confused

He's just woken up after throwing up and I noticed a rash on his shoulder (teeny tiny pale spots) as I washed him. I didn't think to press the spots as I just didn't think he was that ill - and he is prone to get rashes every time he is poorly. Now I've done the NHS symptom checker thing and all of those first 'emergency' questions have freaked me out.

I don't want to go and check the spots as I've don't want to disturb him any more so remind me oh wise ones, what are the other symptoms of meningitis? Should I be worrying?

beautifulgirls Sun 17-Nov-13 20:48:51

Yes, you must check him again and you must trust your instinct on this. Wake him up and check them, and if in ANY doubt at all take him to the hospital immediately. They would far rather see him and tell you it is all ok than have you leave him and find that things turned out bad.

beautifulgirls Sun 17-Nov-13 20:49:28

By the way, the rash is a late and serious sign. Excluding the rash still get him seen if you are not sure.

notablob Sun 17-Nov-13 20:49:43

Go and check. If you're worried about waking him, you can stretch the skin between your fingers a little. If they blanch, you can calm down a bit. If they don't blanch, do the glass test, and then obviously if they still don't blanch you need to get him checked straight away.

Did he complain of any other pain? I've had atypically presenting meningitis and septicaemia, and I felt very fluey (achy joints) and my eyeballs really hurt when I tried to roll the up, down or side to side.

BurnThisDiscoDown Sun 17-Nov-13 20:50:39

Ummm, high temperature, stuff neck, severe headache and severe lethargy I think (may have missed some others!). We took DS to A&E once with a similar rash but no other significant symptoms, they said it was a post viral rash and nothing to worry about. Not to minimise or anything, and you know your DS best, but if he's been generally okay in himself then it's probably not meningitis.

BurnThisDiscoDown Sun 17-Nov-13 20:52:10

The hospital will be lovely if you do take him in btw - they said they'd always rather see little ones if the parents were worried.

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sun 17-Nov-13 20:53:45

My instinct was that he was fine. He was lucid and walked to the shower himself after being sick. He lay in my bed and chatted to me about his bottle while DH changed his sheets. I honestly just thought (think?) that it's a bug, but the symptom checker freaked me out. I have just googled the symptoms though and they mention joint pain, which has worried me. He isn't very verbal so didn't say much today, just a lot of 'ouch' and when pressed for 'where?' said 'my knees'.

Off to find a glass...

morethanpotatoprints Sun 17-Nov-13 20:56:50

We had similar in ds1 many years ago. If you are at all worried call your gp.
He came to us as we were rural and rushed to hospital, he had a virus but before they diagnosed this they did a lumber puncture.
It was the aversion to light and stiffness that alerted us and the gp.
So don't worry, could be similar a virus. Do keep checking and if there is no improvement tomorrow go to gp. If temperature is raised and paracetamol not bringing it down sufficiently call gp.
My ds was hospitalised for 2 weeks with the virus, but it wasn't serious they were being sure and he was quite poorly.

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sun 17-Nov-13 21:02:01

Okay. I've checked. I can feel the rash under the skin, but the redness has gone completely so no glass test needed. He didn't wake up despite me turning the light on, but that is pretty normal for him - could vaccuum around him and he wouldn't notice. He's hot so I've taken his duvet off, but his hands and feet are also hot and the symptoms I've found online suggest they'd be cold if it was meningitis. We had the lights on when we were cleaning him and his room and they didn't seem to bother him. I think he's okay, just a silly toddler bug, but I'll check him every hour until bedtime and then probably sleep in his room.

Thank you for your kind words and advice thanks

BurnThisDiscoDown Sun 17-Nov-13 21:17:31

That's good that the rash has gone, hope he's (and you!) are feeling better soon. I can't wait til my 2yr old can talk well enough to tell me what's wrong when he's ill!

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sun 17-Nov-13 21:38:39

I can't wait until mine can BurnThisDiscoDown - 'ouch, knees, ouch' is simply not helpful grin

He's still sleeping soundly and has cooled slightly.

whyno Sun 17-Nov-13 21:44:02

I seem to remember reading that joint pain and even being temporarily unable to walk can happen sometimes in small children with high temps.

Coveredinweetabix Sun 17-Nov-13 21:49:41

If it ever happens again, draw around the rash with a biro. That way, when you get to A&E, they can tell if it is spreading.

toffeesponge Sun 17-Nov-13 21:53:26

My advice is to check his temperature.

I find it useful to know what my child's normal temp is so I have something to compare it too when ill. Mine are all 36.6 when well.

gallicgirl Sun 17-Nov-13 21:53:54

If it helps my toddler had virus like this last Saturday. Spent most of the day asleep or clinging to me but by teatime was eating marmite on toast and yelling for more Sarah and Duck.

YouveCatToBeKittenMe Sun 17-Nov-13 21:56:12

Dd1 had meningitis and it was mostly a really really bad headache that wouldn't go away. Eventually it made her delirious and then she started vomiting. There was no obvious light aversion or stiff neck. She had it as a teenager thou so was able to explain how much it hurt.
Hope your ds is better soon

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sun 17-Nov-13 22:27:22

Thanks all. He's woken once but settled quickly. I've got spare duvet in his room ready for me to sleep on. I've also been reminded that I really need to get an accurate thermometer. Ours is crap.

BeaWheesht Sun 17-Nov-13 22:32:17

If he still has temp and leg pain tomorrow get him seen, it can be a sign of an infection in his joints.

larrygrylls Mon 18-Nov-13 06:58:32

Parents do need to know about meningitis and take any unresponsive or seriously ill child seriously. On the other hand, this has to be balanced by the realisation that meningitis is rare and (nearly always) presents as a serious illness. It is unlikely that a chatty child who goes for a shower has meningitis. Parents need to learn to assess and trust their own judgment in both directions. If your child is off colour with a blanching rash, it is highly highly unlikely that they have meningitis and all they need is normal care at home and observation.

BeaWheesht Mon 18-Nov-13 08:02:03

Perhaps lately but I'd rather not take the chance, highly unlikely or not, given the speed at which a child can deteriorate .

BeaWheesht Mon 18-Nov-13 08:02:29

larry not lately

DeWe Mon 18-Nov-13 11:19:17

Rashes are a late stage of meningitis. So if the rash is out you'd expect them to be very ill by that point.

Ds used to get viral rashes, which didn't fade under pressure. As he was rarely more than slightly ill with them, it didn't cause the doctors too much concern.

LostInWales Mon 18-Nov-13 11:30:01

Here is a picture of the type of rash associated with meningitus. It was more like lots of little burst blood vessels under the skin than spots which is why they don't go white when pressed. (and thank goodness in our case was the same rash but with a different condition).

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Mon 18-Nov-13 15:23:56

Thank you again for all of your wisdom.

Thankfully, DS seems to have a relatively minor virus. The rash disappeared and he was only sick the once - he woke up a few times in the night but settled relatively quickly. DH has stayed home with him today and says he is quite lively so I'm not worried any more.

Thank you though. There's definitely no harm in reminding ourselves of the symptoms thanks

LostInWales Mon 18-Nov-13 22:22:52

This having children lark is so hard isn't it? They make us love them so very much which is terrifying when they are ill. Glad he is a bit better, hope you all get a good nights sleep.

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