By Carina Stathis For Daily Mail Australia
01:39 10 Apr 2023, updated 01:42 10 Apr 2023
- Mum noticed a tiny red mark on her baby’s leg
- It was an initial sign of meningococcal disease
When a mum noticed a small red mark on her baby’s leg recently she jumped into action and took her bub straight to the hospital.
And she’s lucky she did because the rash ‘didn’t turn white’ when pressure was applied – an early sign of bacterial disease meningococcal that can lead to death if untreated quickly.
The tiny mark on the infant’s leg could’ve easily been mistaken for a spot or bruise, but was a symptom of the deadly disease – something the mother had learned at a first aid class.
Australian parenting group Tiny Hearts Education shared the woman’s story on Instagram to alert other parents about the initial warning sign that need to be taken seriously.
Other symptoms of meningococcal disease in infants and children can include fever, nausea, drowsiness, irritability, extreme tiredness or floppiness, and diarrhoea.
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If a spot appears, Tiny Hearts encouraged parents to test if the rash ‘blanches’ by ‘using a clear glass and rolling it over the rash’.
‘If the rash turns white that means it blanches. A non-blanching rash doesn’t turn white when pressed on,’ the caption read.
‘If the rash is non-blanching it means there is bleeding beneath the skin and there are tests that should be done to rule out anything serious causing this.’
What makes Meningococcal so dangerous is the fact that blood ‘leaks out’ under the skin and not where it should be.
To demonstrate this, a small rectangular piece of solid gel was prodded with an ink needle – the gel representing body tissue and the ink representing ‘stuck’ blood.
What are the symptoms of meningococcal?
Meningococcal bacteria are only passed from person to person by regular close, prolonged household or intimate contact with infected secretions from the back of the nose and throat.
Symptoms in infants and young children can include
- refusing to feed
- irritability, fretfulness
- grunting or moaning
- extreme tiredness or floppiness
- dislike of being handled
- nausea or vomiting
- turning away from light (photophobia)
- convulsions (fits) or twitching
- rash of red or purple pinprick spots or larger bruises.
Source: Better Health
Other mums thanked Tiny Hearts for sharing the life-saving information and some also shared their own horror stories.
‘Thank you! I just no idea what a non blanching rash was but saw it being spoken about regularly. This was really helpful,’ one commented.
‘As a mum with Thrombocytopenic Purpura (blood disorder), this is super important to look for in your littles who can’t advocate for themselves!!’ another added.
A third wrote: ‘My six-year-old had a small non blanching rash on his arm with no other symptoms, so because of the information you post about this, we took him to the hospital…turned out he had bacterial strep throat!
‘Would not have known to take him without your page, so thank you.’
If the disease is left untreated death can occur in as little as a few hours.
Every year in Australia, meningococcal infections cause 700 to 800 hospitalisations and 35-40 deaths (10 in children aged zero to four years).
According to Immunisation Coalition, the disease is transmitted by close, prolonged household and intimate contact, and can spread through the infected secretions from the back of the nose and throat.
Teenagers have the highest carriage rates, peaking in 19-year-olds, and so play an important role in transmission.
Vaccinations are the best way to prevent meningococcal.