Every year, millions of kids end up in hospital emergency rooms for non-emergencies. But there are some childhood ailments that are more urgent than parents realize and that trip to the hospital needs to be done in hurry.
Jasmine Torres is eight weeks old and she's running a fever. Dr. Lonnie King, with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta says that "newborn babies with a fever is a true medical emergency. Those newborn babies under the age of two months really have an immature immune system, so they can't fight infection like you and I can." She was also premature, which makes her even more vulnerable adds Dr. King. "Really the only antibodies that she's got to fight infection is what she got from you through the placenta, so if babies get infection here it could get into their bloodstream, it can go anywhere." Including her brain. They run tests on her blood, urine and her spinal fluid. After all the tests are completed, they result in a diagnosis. Dr. Kings explain what they found: "There is some infection of some kind in the lining of the brain and spinal cord, the meninges. So it's called meningitis." He says, if she had not come to the hospital right away, she would have gotten much sicker and could have died. But, because Jasmine was rushed to the hospital, she is on antibiotics and should be fine. Dr. King even adds that after a few days, she can even go home.
Symptoms of meningitis in newborns include high fever, unusual sleepiness, irritability and loss of appetite.