A Guide to Meningitis by Dr Sumi Soori
Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Most cases are caused by infection in children, from babies to young adults. It can be a potentially serious illness which can be life threatening. However, if dealt with quickly, it can be treated.
Types of Meningitis
Meningitis is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Viral meningitis is the most common but least serious type; bacterial meningitis is rare but can be life threatening.
Possible bacteria and viruses that may cause meningitis:
- Meningococcal bacteria – types A, B,C,W,X,Y,Z
- Pneumococcal bacteria
- Haemophilus influenza B bacteria
- Mumps virus
- Herpes simplex virus (usually cause cold sores or genital herpes)
- Enteroviruses (usually cause mild stomach infections
Signs and symptoms
High fever (not always in babies under three months)
- Reduced feeds or nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue, drowsiness or floppiness
- Irritability, confusion, agitation
- Bulging fontanelle (soft spot on head) in babies
- High pitched cry
- Rapid breathing
- Pale mottled skin, with cold hands and feet
- Limb/joint pains or stiffness, neck stiffness
- Dislike of bright light
The rash associated with meningitis usually starts with small pinpricks, which then spread throughout the body, turning into red/ purple blotches.
Glass test: A rash that does not fade under pressure (when a glass is rolled over it) is a sign of life-threatening blood poisoning (septicaemia). However, a rash does not appear in a number of cases of meningitis. Remember that the rash may be harder to see on dark skin. Checking for spots on paler parts of the body (eg palms of hands and soles of feet) maybe helpful in these cases.
Complications are rare after viral meningitis. They are more common after bacterial meningitis, and in approximately 1% of cases it is fatal.
- Hearing and vision loss
- Cognitive problems (memory issues, learning difficulties)
- Difficulties with co-ordination
- Bone and joint problems or limb loss (due to rapid spread of infection)
- Kidney problems
- Psychological upset
Vaccines that can help reduce the chances of your child getting meningitis:
There are a number of meningitis vaccinations available that provide protection against some of the infections that can cause meningitis.
- Meningitis B vaccine (a new vaccine provided on the NHS for infants, available privately for other children)
- 5-in-1 vaccine (includes protection against Haemophilus influenzae B, a bacteria that can cause meningitis)
- Pneumococcal vaccine
- Men C vaccine (protects against Meningococcal C bacteria)
- MMR vaccine (Meningitis can occur as a complication of measles, mumps or rubella)
- Meningitis ACWY vaccine (protects against four bacteria types that can cause meningitis)
Important points to consider:
- Not all children get all the typical symptoms
- Don’t wait for the rash as it doesn’t always appear
- Vaccination is key in helping prevent cases of meningitis
- Trust your parental instincts. Act fast, get medical help immediately if you are worried your child may have meningitis.
Dr Sumi Soori is a Private GP at Roseneath medical practice who has a strong interest in Paediatrics and Women’s health. The practice is open to new patients and offers appointments seven days a week. For more information, visit http://www.roseneath.co.uk
Did you know that approximately one in ten men experience difficulties with sex?
Any man can be affected by sexual dysfunction and such problems become more common with age.
What sexual problems affect men?
Erectile dysfunction:- Inability to achieve or maintain an erection suitable for intercourse.
- Causes may be physical or psychological.
- Physical causes: hardening of arteries affecting blood flow, diabetes, other nerve disorders eg Multiple sclerosis, raised blood pressure, physical injury to the penis or scar tissue in the penis (Peyronie’s disease), alcohol, smoking, drug misuse and side effects of certain medications.
- Psychological issues: stress , anxiety, depression
Premature ejaculation:-When a man ejaculates sooner than he wants during or before penetration
- The most common male sexual problem
- Usually due to nervousness over sexual performance or other psychological factors
Inhibited or retarded ejaculation:- Slow to ejaculate
- Usually psychological factors
Retrograde ejaculation:-Where the ejaculation goes into the bladder instead of out of the penis
- Possible causes: diabetes , consequence of surgery for bladder or prostate
Loss of libido:- A decrease in desire for or interest in sex
- Possible causes: Diabetes, low testosterone levels, raised blood pressure, certain medications, relationship problems, stress, anxiety, previous sexual trauma
So what’s the good news?
- Fortunately most cases of sexual dysfunction are treatable
How can Roseneath Medical Practice help you?
Dr Soori conducts confidential sexual health assessments which include a history of symptoms, physical examination and tests with same day results, to look for possible causes. Once complete, certain treatments are also available from the surgery or if required a swift referral to a recommended therapist or hospital specialist.
Heart Disease & Cancer Information, provided by our Richmond Doctors
Did you know that women over 50 years of age are at an increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers?
- The hormonal changes that occur during the menopause cause a rise in cholesterol levels. The metabolism also slows down during this time, causing weight gain and increasing cardiovascular risk further.
How you can help:
- Focus on healthy diet and lifestyle ( stay active, eat healthily, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, avoid too much alcohol, don’t smoke)
- Take part in regular health screening- body mass index check, blood pressure screening, cholesterol and diabetes screening, baseline electrocardiogram, ten year cardiovascular risk assessment
- Cancer becomes more common after the age of fifty, especially breast cancer, lung cancer, bowel cancer and gynaecological cancers (womb, cervical, ovarian)
How you can help:
- Regular breast self- examination and mammogram screening every three years; colorectal cancer screening through stool sample plus possible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy; gynaecological cancer screening via cervical smear and HPV infection test every five years from 50 years age, regular pelvic examinations plus possible tumour marker testing and pelvic scan
At Roseneath Medical Practice we believe that health promotion and disease prevention are key to living a long, healthy life. To help you achieve this, for women over the age of fifty, our practice offers a variety of health assessments and screening tests, all with same day results.
You may not realise your blood pressure, sugar or cholesterol levels are raised, until you have them checked.
Often these conditions do not have noticeable symptoms, or only do so when the levels are very high. At Roseneath Medical Practice we want to help you reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Prevention is key….
Roseneath’s new Healthy Heart assessment package includes:
- GP consultation ( discussion of diet and lifestyle, assessment of 10 year cardiovascular risk, weight loss and smoking cessation help)
- Fasting blood test (including cholesterol and glucose)
- Blood pressure evaluation
For more information or to book an appointment call our Reception on 020 8940 9955
Roseneath Medical Practice’s team of caring doctors provide a holistic approach to childhood development.
Monitoring the growth and development of a child is essential, and should encompass caring for physical, emotional and social development.
Mental health disorders are more common in children than parents often realise. Studies have shown that children with a psychiatric disorder are three times as likely to experience a mental health disorder in adulthood.
The signs of mental illness in children maybe mood changes, Intense worry, difficulty concentrating, poor school performance, persistent boredom, unexplained weight loss, frequent complaints of physical symptoms, sleep and/or appetite problems, nightmares, sleepwalking, regressive behaviour patterns e.g. bedwetting, tantrums, becoming clingy, risk-taking behaviour and/or showing less concern for their own safety, self-harm, and substance abuse.
Common Childhood Mental Health Disorders are Anxiety Disoorders, Depression, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Eating disorders.
If you’re concerned, take your child to a GP. Before you go, speak to your child’s teacher, friends and family to see if they’ve noticed any changes in their behaviour, which will be helpful information for the doctor. The doctor will establish the history of the problem, examine your child and work with you to determine the diagnosis. It’s important to seek advice as early as possible because early support and treatment produces better results for children, and more positive, long-term benefits.
Dr Sumi Soori MBBS, MRCGP, DRCOG is a Private General Practitioner at Roseneath Medical Practice in Richmond, who also has a strong interest in Paediatrics and Women’s health.