Baby treated for meningococcus after red rash appears on leg
By Carina Stathis for Daily Mail Australia
01:39 10 April 2023, update 01:42 10 April 2023
- Mom noticed a small red mark on her baby’s leg
- It was an initial sign of meningococcal disease
When a mum recently noticed a small red mark on her baby’s leg, she sprang into action and took her baby straight to the hospital.
And she’s lucky cause the rash ‘did not turn white’ when pressure was applied – an early sign of bacterial meningococcal disease which can lead to death if not treated quickly.
The small mark on the baby’s leg could easily have been mistaken for a spot or a bruise, but it was a symptom of the deadly disease – something the mother had learned in a first aid course.
Australian parenting group Tiny Hearts Education shared the woman’s story on Instagram to alert other parents to the initial warning sign that should be taken seriously.
Other symptoms of meningococcal disease in infants and children may include fever, nausea, drowsiness, irritability, extreme tiredness or flaccidity and diarrhoea.
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If a spot appears, Tiny Hearts encouraged parents to test if the rash “whitens” by “using a clear glass and rolling it over the rash.”
“If the rash turns white, it means it is whitening. A rash that does not whiten does not turn white when pressed,” the caption read.
“If the rash does not turn white, it means there is bleeding under the skin and tests should be done to rule out a serious cause.”
What makes meningococcus so dangerous is the fact that the blood “flows” under the skin and not where it should be.
To demonstrate this, a small rectangular piece of solid gel was pricked with an ink needle – the gel representing body tissue and the ink representing “stuck” blood.
What are the symptoms of meningococcus?
Meningococcal bacteria are only passed from person to person through regular and prolonged household or intimate contact with infected secretions from the back of the nose and throat.
Symptoms in infants and young children may include
- refuse to eat
- irritability, irritability
- growl or moan
- extreme tiredness or flaccidity
- don’t like to be manipulated
- nausea or vomiting
- turning away from light (photophobia)
- convulsions (fits) or muscle twitching
- rash of red or purple stitches or larger bruises.
Source: Better health
Other mums thanked Tiny Hearts for sharing the vital information and some also shared their own horror stories.
‘THANKS! I had no idea what a non-whitening rash was, but I’ve seen people talk about it regularly. It was really helpful,” one commented.
“As a mum with thrombocytopenic purpura (blood disorder), it’s very important to look for this in your little ones who can’t defend themselves!” another added.
A third wrote: “My six year old had a small non whitening rash on his arm with no other symptoms so because of the information you post about this we have taken him to hospital… he is turned out he had a bacterial strep throat!
“I wouldn’t have known how to take it without your page, so thank you.”
If the disease is not treated, death can occur within hours.
Each year in Australia, meningococcal infections cause 700 to 800 hospitalizations and 35 to 40 deaths (10 in children aged zero to four years).
According to the Immunization Coalition, the disease is spread through close and prolonged household and intimate contact, and can be spread through infected secretions from the back of the nose and throat.
Adolescents have the highest carriage rates, peaking at age 19, and therefore play an important role in transmission.
Vaccinations are the best way to prevent meningococcus.
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