Diaries Magazine

Every Mummy's Nightmare: the Rash That Doesn't Go

By Sjay235 @naturalmommainm
Two nights ago we had our first medical scare with Isabelle. Luckily it was just a case of first time parents panicking - but I am still glad we did.
Having popped Isabelle into the bath, Simon noticed a red rash on her left shoulder and down her chest. It was red blotches, with small pin pricks of red in it. We had a look, gave it a little press, and decided to do the old fail safe "glass test". Unfortunately, neither Simon nor I have any sort of medical training, so we weren't 100% sure what the results of the glass test were. It didn't look like the rash had disappeared entirely and, although neither of us actually said it, only one word was in mind: meningitis. We hmm-ed and ahh-ed for a few minutes, doing the test again, and being none the wiser.
So we did the only thing we know to do in a confusing medical situation: we phoned my brother. No answer. I then phoned my sister-in-law who told me he was actually still at the hospital at work, but, being a mommy  herself, was able to sympathise with my uncertainty and fear, and offered to continue trying to get hold of my brother while I phoned the out of hours doctor (also her suggestion. I was ready for A&E if I'm honest). While Simon amused Isabelle in the bath, I phoned the out of hours doctor, and they were fantastic and rang back within a few minutes, as did my sister-in-law and then my brother. After answering numerous questions from all medically trained people, it was decided that the rash was most likely nothing serious, and while we should keep an eye on Isabelle,  she would most likely be fine. Of course, they were right.

Every mummy's nightmare: the rash that doesn't go

My mental image of my brother at work...

This all led me to realize one thing: I am woefully underprepared for a medical emergency with Isabelle. That said, I'm not sure if you ever really can be prepared for real emergency involving your child - all you can do is your best.
It also reminded me that, other than a rash and flu like symptoms, I have no real idea what the symptoms of meningitis are - especially those specific to a baby. I know I shouldn't go around assuming every rash she gets is meningitis, but I'd really rather be safe than sorry! So, I looked up a list of meningitis symptoms in babies to share with you all, and educate myself.
From Meningitis.org
  • Tense or bulging soft spot
  • High Temperature
  • Very sleepy/staring expression/too sleepy to wake up
  • Vomiting/refusing to feed
  • Irritable when picked up, with a high pitch or moaning cry
  • Breathing fast / difficulty breathing
  • Blotchy skin, getting paler or turning blue
  • Extreme shivering
  • A stiff body with jerky movements, or else floppy / lifeless
  • 'Pin prick' rash / marks or purple bruises on the body
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Sometimes diarrhoea
  • Pain/ irritability from muscle aches or severe limb/joint pain

  • Every mummy's nightmare: the rash that doesn't go

    You'll see a rash is actually pretty low down on the list, and it comes after a whole load of symptoms which would definitely have me concerned something was wrong anyway. The thing with this list is that not every baby will get all these symptoms. Some get some, others get others, and some babies I've heard of have almost none. That's pretty terrifying.
    While these are great things to be on the look out for, remember that parents always know best when something just isn't right. I know not everyone is lucky enough to have my brother permanently on call (and that is something we will be forever grateful for, especially as he has so willingly dropped everything in the past to help us during a medical issue) but if you are worried, get on the phone to your out of hours doctor and don't be shy - tell them exactly why you are worried about your little one, and don't play anything down. If you are REALLY worried, get them to A&E. yes, it might turn out to be nothing and you will feel stupid for time wasting, but at the end of the day it's better to have it that way than any alternative, surely?
    So just a scare for us this time, and I hope we don't have to deal with any more in the near future, but at least now I will know what else to look out for with a rash, and remember that the out of hours doctor service is always there when I'm not sure, and can't get that brother on the phone.

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