Childr Health Information


Print this page Bookmark and Share

Topic: Diseases & Conditions

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about meningitis. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to go over any instructions you do not understand.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes of the spinal cord or brain. It can be caused by a virus (aseptic), bacteria or other organisms that enter the body through the upper respiratory tract, the bloodstream or through localized infections of the sinuses, mastoid or middle ear.


  • In the younger child symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Low temperature (hypothermia)
  • Lethargy
  • Hyperirritability
  • Anorexia
  • Bulging fontanel (soft spot)
  • In the older child, symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Neck stiffness
  • Severe headaches
  • Neck or back pain on leg extension
  • Resistance and pain upon neck flexion

    Diagnosis is made by a lumbar puncture (also called a spinal tap; see CHI#1248)

  • Antibiotics through an intravenous line
  • Child will be in isolation (private room) for a minimum of 24-hours following the start of antibiotic therapy (staff/visitors will be required to wear a mask when entering the room)
  • Neurological status is assessed frequently after treatment begins (this requires the staff to try and wake up your child to see if they are aware of their surroundings)
  • Supportive symptomatic therapy: Fluids will be given through an IV (intravenous) line until your child can take feedings by mouth.
  • Antipyretics (Tylenol®/Ibuprofen) for fever
  • Analgesics (Tylenol®/cool compresses) to relieve headache
  • Cooling or warming blanket
  • Dark, quiet atmosphere
  • Padded side rails
  • Potential life-long complications following meningitis:
  • Hearing impairment
  • Seizures
  • Cerebral palsy

PDF: Child Health Information - MENINGITIS

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 2002

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 2002


Sign up for Pediatric Link

Finding the latest trusted child health and safety information doesn't have to be hard. Pediatric Link, Dayton Children's e-newsletter offers timely and up-to-date information for health care professionals from the experts you trust at Dayton Children's.  Sign up

Upcoming Events

Dayton Children’s cordially invites you to attend our upcoming state-wide pediatric trauma symposium. The symposium will be held at the Wyndham Hotel, Miamisburg, OH on April 25, 2014.

Get your family started on a healthy lifestyle

Join the Beavercreek TWIG groups 11, 17, and 22 for the annual spring luncheon, Run for the Roses, on April 26, 2014 at the Beavercreek Golf Club.

View full event calendarView full event calendar

The Right Experts

Just right for all kids


The Children's Medical Center of Dayton Dayton Children's
The Right Care for the Right Reasons

One Children's Plaza - Dayton, Ohio - 45404-1815