A close family friend lost their 2 year old son, Leo to meningococcal meningitis three weeks ago. Although Leo had been off his food and a bit feverish for most of the afternoon, he was no more “ill” than the average toddler gets all the time. From the time they spotted a rash on his body (about 3am), and got him to hospital, it was too late.
Meningitis is a devastating disease and one that is difficult to single out from self-limiting, non serious viral illnesses in the early stages, even by professionals.
But aside from doing the tumbler test , the information is there for you to use as a parent, that NICE recommend the medics use to base their decisions on in hospitals in the diagram above.
NB THIS CHART IS NOT SPECIFIC TO MENINGITIS – IT IS FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS TO HELP DISCRIMINATE BETWEEN MINOR AND POTENTIALLY SERIOUS ILLNESSES. SERIOUS ILLNESS COULD BE MENINGITIS OR OTHER INFECTIONS SUCH AS PNEUMONIA. PLEASE SEE LINK BELOW FOR MORE DETAIL
So now you know.
And if you want to read the rest of the official guidelines on how to deal with children presenting with a febrile illness, it all comes from this document by NICE.
If you feel moved by this story, please read his mother, Linda’s account of what happened, and consider a donation, however small, to the Meningitis Research Foundation HERE