>Does Your Child Have Encephalitis? Signs that You Should Call the Doctor Right AwayWhen to Call a Doctor
In the event that you think your child is suffering from this condition, which may mean that his/her brain is literally swollen, you have to contact your doctor right away. Especially if your little one has a high fever and even more so if your son or daughter has had measles, chickenpox, or mumps in the past.
For Infants and Young Babies
If you have a very young child, such as an infant or a baby, you need to make certain that you bring him/her right away to the doctor or the nearest hospital in the event that he/she exhibits any of the following:
• High fever
• Very high fever that reaches more than 38 °C in babies who are not older than 3 months
• Fullness of the soft spot
• Bulging in the soft spot
• Stiffness in any part of the body
• Floppiness in any part of the body
• Lack of appetite
• Crying that cannot be stopped
For Younger Children
If your child is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed below, bring him/her to a doctor or hospital right away:
• Severe headaches
• Seizures or convulsions
• Stiffness or pain in the neck
• Difficulties in looking at bright lights
• Seeing double (double vision)
• Difficulties in walking
• Speech problems
• Hearing problems
• Difficulties in moving a part of the body, such as an arm or a leg
• Loss or lack of sensation in any part of the body
• Changes in personality and behavior that have occurred suddenly
• Memory problems
• Extreme drowsiness
• Loss of consciousness or fainting spells
It is important for parents to know that encephalitis commonly accompanies or follows common illnesses that are caused by viruses. This means that your child may experience signs and indications of these common illnesses before an inflammation of his/her brain takes place. However, it does not necessarily mean that all young children are going to exhibit these common illness signs before those associated with encephalitis. There have been many cases wherein encephalitis has occurred without any kind of warning whatsoever.
In teenagers, the most common signs and symptoms of encephalitis includes fever, poor or lack of appetite, headaches, fatigue, and loss of energy. Feeling ill or having a general sick feeling can also indicate that a teenager may already be suffering from this health condition.
However, in cases of encephalitis that are more serious in nature, the following symptoms may exhibit themselves:
• High fever
• Extremely painful headaches
• Photophobia, or being very sensitive to light, which causes pain when looking at lights
• Stiffness of or in the neck
• Sleeping problems, including feeling sleepier than normal and/or difficulties in waking up
• Seizures or convulsions
It is also important to note that, in cases wherein a teenager gets encephalitis, it usually takes place after he/she has had a common illness such as chickenpox. In such cases, the indications of the common illness often make themselves apparent before the signs of brain inflammation become noticeable. However, teenagers can also develop encephalitis without any warning. If your teenager is suffering from any of the symptoms that have been listed above, make sure that you get in touch with your child’s primary health care giver as soon as possible.
Final Note to Parents
Encephalitis is not contagious, which means that it cannot be transmitted from one patient to another. This also means that, your child is not going to develop it even if he/she has been around a person who is suffering from the condition. What you need to know though, is that, while encephalitis is a rare condition, children are at greater risk of suffering from it than most other people, such as yourself. So if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms being displayed by your child, seek medical attention as quickly as possible.