Some Early Meningitis Symptoms that Toddlers May Have

First published: 31 October 2022 @ 6:00 pm

Medical conditions such as meningitis can cause life-threatening infections in children. If the doctors have diagnosed your child with meningitis, you will want to note the symptoms.

Viral infections usually cause meningitis in children, but bacterial infection can also cause it.

By knowing what to look for, you can prevent further damage and save your child’s life.

Meningitis Signs

When someone has a form of meningitis, they may have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever (most often 100 degrees or higher)
  • Severe headache that doesn’t go away, or that gets worse over time
  • Confusion or problems with vision or coordination (balance)
  • Neck stiffness
  • Nausea and vomiting that occur several times a day
  • Sleepiness or irritability, or both
  • Tiredness
  • Skin rash (in meningococcal infection)

These symptoms may occur in any combination. The symptoms may be mild and not require medical attention, or they may be severe and require immediate medical attention.


Your child’s doctor will perform a physical exam to look for the telltale signs of meningitis. These include a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

If your child has other symptoms such as drowsiness or irritability, a rash or increased sensitivity to light and sound, we also consider these symptoms of meningitis.

Besides physical examination findings, your child’s doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms, including any new ones that have developed since the first signs began.

Some Early Meningitis Symptoms that Toddlers May Have

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.

Your doctor will ask about your child’s medical history (including any previous episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhea) and family history (if applicable).

He or she will also take your child’s temperature (unless the problem is already too severe) and blood pressure readings while monitoring these vital signs closely over several hours.

They will also take blood samples to check for certain types of infections, such as hepatitis B and C or HIV/AIDS.

Your children may go through a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to check for spinal fluid buildup in the spinal canal. They can do this test if doctors suspect any spinal fluid buildup.

Treatment for Meningitis

We can treat the effects of meningitis with antibiotics. It’s because bacteria, viruses, or parasites cause meningitis.

Besides antibiotics, other medications may relieve the symptoms. For example, they give corticosteroids to reduce swelling in the brain and to treat an infection.

They often use these medications in cases of bacterial meningitis, but not for viral meningitis.

Your child may need to rest for several days. They will have to stay in the hospital until their health condition recovers.

A child may need surgery to drain the brain of fluid if his or her condition is severe. The surgery is called a craniotomy. After the surgery, your child will need to rest in the hospital for several days.

The effects of meningitis may cause serious brain damage or death. Therefore, it is important to treat the disease early and keep your child from getting any infections.

Schedule a follow-up appointment within 1 week of discharge if there are concerns about any changes in your child’s condition.

If your child has meningitis, the symptoms may come and go in cycles. Treatment will continue as needed until the infection is under control and the symptoms disappear.

It may take several days or weeks before the infection is completely gone.

How You Can Help Your Toddlers During Treatment

1. Be available to answer questions your child has.

2. Provide comfort and support for your child during treatment.

3. Offer fluids and a clear liquid diet if your child cannot eat during treatment.

4. Take steps to protect your child from infections, such as washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before caring for him or her, and keeping him or her away from anyone who may have an infection.

5. Try not to over-exert your child while he or she is being treated, because this can make symptoms worse and delay recovery.

Some Early Meningitis Symptoms that Toddlers May Have

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.

Lowering the Risk for Meningitis

If your child has meningitis, make an appointment with your child’s doctor right away. If you are concerned that your child has meningitis, or if you notice any of the symptoms listed above, seek medical attention right away.

We can prevent some type of meningitis, like meningococcal infection, through meningococcal vaccines.

This vaccine is important to get rid of Neisseria Meningitidis, which is the primary cause of meningococcal infection. The vaccine is usually for children under the age of 12 years old.

Our blog, Mature Parent, is here to help you with any issues you might have with your child’s development. Check out other articles about our most popular subjects!