HomeLifestyleWhat Is Meningitis? Here’s How The Symptoms Can Differ In Newborns From...

What Is Meningitis? Here’s How The Symptoms Can Differ In Newborns From Common Symptoms

Last Updated: February 24, 2023, 09:30 IST

Tuberculous meningitis (TB meningitis) can develop much later after exposure to the bacteria. (Image: Shutterstock)

According to CDC, the typical period in which symptoms of bacterial meningitis develop is within 3 to 7 days after exposure.

Meningitis is a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. While anyone can be affected by this condition, newborns are particularly vulnerable to it. This is because newborns do not have a fully developed immune system yet, making them more susceptible to infections such as meningitis. It is also hard to identify meningitis in newborns because they may not exhibit the typical signs seen in older children and adults. The cause behind the condition is found to be a bacterial or viral infection.

Bacterial meningitis is the most severe form of the disease. It can lead to serious complications such as hearing loss, brain damage, and even death. Viral meningitis, on the other hand, is usually less severe and often resolves on its own without treatment. It is important to make sure that if your newborn is showing any symptoms of meningitis, get them proper medical attention

The Common Symptoms

Older children or adults might exhibit the following symptoms of Meningitis, including sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck, according to the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention. There might also be other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, photophobia (being more sensitive to light), or altered mental status.

If you or your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, seeking medical attention immediately is important. This is because prompt treatment can improve the outcome for adults with meningitis.

Symptoms Found In Babies

Here are some common symptoms of meningitis in newborns and how they can be different from the symptoms present in older children or adults.

  • Poor feeding or lack of appetite
  • Lethargy and inactivity
  • Jaundice (a yellowish tint to the skin)
  • High-pitched cry or moaning
  • Constant crying or irritability
  • A bulging fontanelle (soft spot on the head)
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • A rash that does not fade
  • Seizures

It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be present in other illnesses. Yet, if you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn or if you suspect that your baby may have meningitis, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

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