Meningitis symptoms in babies
Is your baby getting worse fast? Babies can get ill very quickly, so check often. Not every baby gets all these symptoms. Symptoms can appear in any order.
What is the risk to my baby?
Most babies have natural resistance to these diseases. Meningitis vaccines give excellent protection but can't prevent all forms of meningitis and septicaemia.
What should I look out for?
Early symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia (the blood poisoning form of the disease) can be like other childhood illnesses, but a baby will usually get ill quickly and get worse fast.
What should I do if I am worried about my baby?
Trust your instincts. If you think your baby has meningitis or septicaemia get medical help immediately. Say that you are worried it could be meningitis or septicaemia.
The tumbler test
If you are seriously worried about someone who is ill, don’t wait for a rash to appear – get medical help.
But if they are already ill and get a new rash or spots, use the Tumbler Test.
Press a clear glass tumbler firmly against the rash. If you can see the marks clearly through the glass seek urgent medical help immediately.
Check the entire body. Look out for tiny red or brown pin-prick marks which can change into larger red or purple blotches and blood blisters.
The darker the skin the harder it is to see a septicaemic rash so check lighter areas like the palms of hands and soles of feet or look inside the eyelids and the roof of the mouth.
Remember, a very ill person needs medical help even if there are only a few spots, a rash or no rash at all.
What are meningitis and septicaemia?
Meningitis is inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord – the meninges. Septicaemia is blood poisoning caused by the same germs and is the more life threatening form of the disease.
We are funding ground breaking research to provide the evidence for an extended MenB vaccination process.
Mary Beth Walewski
Doctors said if I had waited another 30 minutes I wouldn't be here.
Ask the Expert
Why are babies more susceptible to meningitis and septicaemia? Read more
Ask the Expert
Can a newborn baby have meningitis? Read more