Infectious Diseases: Meningitis and Chickenpox

When it comes to infectious diseases, cerebrospinal meningitis and chickenpox are among some that might affect our children.

Causes and symptoms are discussed below, as well as care instructions that we should do in order to prevent such infectious diseases.

Infectious Diseases We should be Wary of

Cerebrospinal Meningitis

Causes and Symptoms

infectious diseases

This disease refers to the area surrounding the brain and inflammation of the spinal membrane. There are three different types of this condition: bacterial, viral and tuberculosis meningitis.

Pneumonia and media otitis are among the common complications. 

If the other types are not quickly diagnosed and treated, it may turn into a life threatening condition. That is with the exception of viral meningitis. Even after healing, there may still remain other serious conditions in the after effects of the disease.

Symptoms will differ between individuals. However, typically as the bacteria enter the body, there will be the appearance of a common cold for 1-2 days with headache accompanied by a 39-41 degree fever. This will persist for one week and the fever will reach as high as 40 degrees. In severe cases, there will be vomiting and rashes. It will be harder to identify the symptoms for a less than 12 months old baby. What is noticeable is that their energy levels will drop and they will cry, fret and vomit when suffering from fever. During highly infectious periods, you must consider the possibility the baby has been infected. In case the baby develops these symptoms.

The immune system of a 6 months old baby up to 12 months old is quite weak. Thus, easier to become infected. Normally after being infected once, the immune system will protect against further infection.

Care Instructions

Personal Care

● If there's a suspected infection of meningitis, it is important to go for immediate consultation at a pediatric clinic. That is in order to find the bacteria causing the condition.

● Even though there are not many cases of bacterial or tuberculosis meningitis, antibiotics must be used right away to treat the condition. In case there's such a condition present. If these conditions are treated too slowly, it may have fatal consequences.

● For children under one year old, it’s difficult to diagnose the symptoms with the eyes. In the majority of cases, it is not possible to determine by yourself if there is an infection present.

● Pay special attention if you feel there's only a slight cold, which then persists and turns into a high fever lasting 2-3 days. You must identify the cause of meningitis, measure the pressure in the brain, and maybe perform a spinal tap.

● If there is an infection of bacterial meningitis, there’ll be lots of additional complications. Thus, it’s best to first vaccinate in the 2nd, 4th and 6th month after birth and after 15 administer the booster. This vaccine only immunizes against bacterial meningitis caused by Type-B influenza hemophile bacteria. That being said, there's still risk from other types of meningitis.

General Care

● Along with other infectious diseases, do not go outdoors or go to crowded places. That is during high infection periods of meningitis. It’s also a best practice to wash your hands after returning home, brush your teeth and get plenty of rest.

● Typically, after the first case of infection, there will not be a second case. Nevertheless, during infectious periods, there are also other illnesses being transmitted at the same time. So in line of this, there are often cases where children may be infected one year after another.

Chickenpox

Causes and Symptoms

Chicken pox is one of the infectious diseases and is a viral infection. Any contact with children who have the virus or contact with objects used by the infected individual will be transmitted. Transmission can also be done through sneezing or coughing. This is highly infectious and is particularly predominant among 2-10 year olds. After the first infection, the immune system will defend the body against the infection in the future. Occasionally, the virus can also lead to shingles.

The virus incubation period is 14 days. In the initial stages, the symptoms are just like a common cold: runny nose, sore throat, fever. Those could rise to 38-40 degrees. 1-2 days after the symptoms have emerged, spots will appear on the chest, back and abdomen that resemble insect feces. These spots will quickly become swollen and turn into a size similar to that of a grain of rice. After 24 hours, a blister will form. Next, after another 2-3 days, they will dry out and turn into a black scar. Then, after another 7-10 days, the scar will peel away and the condition will be healed. Not only will the rash appear on the skin, but also in the mouth and mucus membrane in the digestive tract.

Chickenpox is very itchy, but scratching will injure the skin. If the wound gets infected by bacteria, it can cause complications. This includes swelling, abscess, swollen lymph glands, septicemia etc. Additionally, there will also be a headache, stomach ache, reduced appetite, muscle pain etc.

Care Instructions

● In order to avoid scarring the skin through scratching, cut the fingernails short and wear thin clothing. Scratching during inflammation can cause permanent scarring.

● If suffering from chickenpox with no other complications, the condition will naturally heal after around 10 days. In case itchiness or high fever is hard to endure, paracetamol can be taken (not containing salicylic acid). Aspirin must not be taken with chickenpox as may cause Reye syndrome.

● The appetite will diminish during a chickenpox infection. However, to prevent dehydration, it is best to feed fruit juice, water, porridge or other such liquid foods.

● Children who feed on breast milk don’t need to worry on the following point. If taking foods containing lactose or cow’s milk proteins, there will be diarrhea. Before the condition improves, do not consume food containing cow milk.

● The condition is infectious until the blisters dry out and turn into a scar. Thus, during this time, it is best to isolate to avoid transmitting onto other people.

● The chickenpox vaccine can be given after one year old. One vaccine is effective enough to protect for a lifetime. Though there are some cases which still develop chickenpox even after vaccinations. The symptoms will be less severe though.

​Final Say

Now those mentioned above are infectious diseases that we should be precautionary about. In case it still happens to our child, care instructions are already discussed to help us out.

Stephanie
 

Editor in Babiology, mother of two, highly passionate about sharing the pregnancy care and post delivery care learning with the readers.

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