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Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the tissues that surround the brain and spinal cord. This serious infection can injure the brain. It can cause death.
Symptoms usually develop suddenly and last for 2 to 3 weeks. A baby may be cranky, cry when moved, and arch their back. A young child may have a severe headache and refuse to eat. An older child will also have a stiff neck. Fever is common at all ages. Your child will be in the hospital for testing and treatment.
How long it takes your child to get better depends on how bad the illness is. It can take from just a couple of weeks to many months. You may notice a change in how your child thinks or concentrates. Most children with these symptoms get better over time. Be patient. And follow your doctor's instructions.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: July 1, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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