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Meningitis is a serious bacterial infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. According to World Health Organization, it can cause significant brain damage and is fatal in 50% of untreated cases. The story we are telling you today has a "happy ending". Our protagonist, a boy barely two years old, did not die of meningitis, but he did suffer the consequences of this disease. Could your story have been changed? His parents are clear: it could.
Rudolf and Katherine smile, but behind this smile there is a bit of bitterness, and it is that the meningitis It hit them squarely when their little one was at that wonderful age where they want to investigate, play and tinker. Know their history!
Our youngest son, Ondra, became seriously ill with meningitis pneumococcal at 22 months of age. We can say that he was lucky because he survived, however, he will have to endure one of the consequences of this disease throughout your life: hearing loss.
At the end of July 2006, we took little Ondra to our GP, who discovered that he had otitis media and told us to put some ear drops. Ondra felt fine until that night, when she started vomiting and had a fever. Since his condition did not improve, we took him to the hospital the next morning, but the doctor prescribed only paracetamol and sent us back home.
Ondra felt worse, her fever did not subside and we realized that she was not moving her head. We went to the hospital again because we suspected meningitis, and is that one of the most common symptoms is a stiff neck. At the hospital they decided that Ondra was only dehydrated, but after insisting, the doctors agreed to perform a lumbar puncture to confirm or rule out meningitis. The sample confirmed the presence of inflammation and Ondra received antibiotics.
We spent a few months in the hospital and then they sent us home. That's when we became suspicious because, although Ondra felt much better, she had lost her hearing as a result of the inflammation. Before the illness, she had learned to speak words that she suddenly couldn't speak. Again we went through all kinds of tests and started looking for information on our own. We insisted that Ondra be examined by specialists and, in the end, they referred us to another hospital to study the possibility of perform cochlear implants for children.
These demanding operations, which can restore hearing, are recommended only for children under three years of age and our time was running out. Fortunately, we had all the necessary tests and it looked like Ondra would have a cochlear implant in the fall.
We started to learn sign language with him and Ondra picked up on it quickly, although sometimes she got tired. It was difficult for him! Two years after her implant, Ondra is beginning to speak fluently and she makes us all very happy.
We know that this dramatic story would not have necessarily happened if we had known about the existence of a vaccine against pneumococcal infections and we would have vaccinated our little one, but we didn't know until it was too late.
Therefore, we want to speak and share our experience, in order to alert all parents to the potential danger to their young children from pneumococcal disease. We formed our own association in the Czech Republic, where we live, to inform parents, raise awareness and advocate for the introduction of vaccines, because the life and health of our children are, for us, the most important thing.
The meningitis and septicemia -variety of bacterial disease- can be difficult to recognize in the early stages. Symptoms can be similar to the common flu and can develop quickly, in a matter of hours.
The main symptoms are to look for fever, rash, vomiting, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, and drowsiness. Signs and symptoms do not appear in a defined order, may not appear all together, or may not appear at all.
This list of symptoms does not include all possible signs and symptoms of meningitis or septicemia. It is important to know the warning signs and get medical treatment quickly. Until the cause of meningitis is known, it should be considered a medical emergency.
The meningitis bacteria it is transmitted from person to person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions. The spread of the disease is facilitated by close and prolonged contact with an infected person. The average incubation period is 4 days, but can range from 2 to 10 days.
Sources consulted: CoMO.
You can read more articles similar to How a mother's intuition saved a child from dying of meningitis, in the Vaccines on site category.