Brain Abscess in Children

Brain Abscess in Children

An abscess is a pocket of infection.  A brain abscess is when there is a pocket of infection located in the brain.  This can be just in one area of the brain or it can be in multiple areas of the brain.  This condition in children can be very serious and life threatening. The abscess should be treated right away.  There are three most common causes of a brain abscess, either virus, fungi, or bacteria.

  • Bacteria can travel from another part of the body, bring the infection with them.  Such as an ear infection, a sinus infection or a dental infection.
  • Secondly bacteria can travel through the bloodstream. This can  travel from the lungs or chest up to the brain, or from the heart, or from the cerebrospinal fluid to the brain. 
  • A third way is that a virus or bacteria can enter through an open wound in the head. This can be a very serious thing for your child to suffer through. 

Symptoms

There are some symptoms to look for that can show signs of a brain abscess.  From child to child the symptoms of a brain abscess will be different. There can be some different symptoms in younger children than older but most of the symptoms are similar.  Make sure that your child is seen by a healthcare provider if they exhibit any of these symptoms.

Symptoms can include fever, sleepiness, increased irritability, projectile vomiting or nausea and vomiting, severe headaches, problems walking, limb weakness, or seizures.  Your child could experience some changes, such as changes in their personality, changes in behavior, or changes in speech. Infant children may suffer from poor feeding, or high pitched crying.

Make sure to speak with a healthcare provider if your child experiences any of these.  

Risk Factors

If your child has any of the following problems they are more at risk to develop a brain abscess: congenital heart disease, meningitis, chronic ear infections, chronic sinus infections, dental or jaw infections, infections of the face or scalp, head injury, skull fracture, diabetes, shunt infection, or weakened immune system.  

Diagnosis

If you take your child to their healthcare provider they will do a few tests. One test that your doctor may do a blood test, which will check for infection.  They may also run a urine check to check for infection too. If your doctor suspects a lung infection they will order a sputum culture. Another test to check for bacteria or fungi is a blood culture.  There are some other tests that can help determine if there truly is a brain abscess after you find out if there is an infection. Your doctor may order an X-ray, which won’t necessarily show an abscess but it will show if there are any skull fractures.  Two tests that will identify an abscess is an MRI, or a CT scan. Once your doctor has ran the tests they need they will come up with a game plan of how to treat the brain abscess. 

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to decrease pressure on the brain and to get rid of the infection.  There are different things your doctor may want to do to reach this goal. Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and overall health.  The key to treatment is to catch the abscess early and to start treatment as soon as possible. Your doctor may first want to try your child on antibiotics to try and get rid of the infection.  They will then monitor your child and see how they respond to the antibiotic. If this doesn’t work, your child may have to have brain surgery. Your doctor may need to drain the abscess to relieve the brain of pressure.  The pressure can be causing the seizures, and extreme headaches that your child is experiencing symptomatic.  

After treatment there is usually no complications.  Sometimes though children with a severe abscess will have to go through a type of therapy such as physical, speech or occupational. If the symptoms don’t get better or don’t resolve after treatment you will want to call your healthcare provider to see what the next step in treatment is.  You should not leave a brain abscess untreated, they can be serious and life threatening if not treated. 

If your child experiences any of the symptoms in relation to a brain abscess then make sure you go see your doctor as soon as possible.  Early treatment is key to making sure that a brain abscess is treated with no complications after. Getting rid of the infection and decreasing pressure on the brain is the goal for treatment of an abscess.  Make sure that you speak with a doctor if you think your child may have a brain abscess. 




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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators.The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

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