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The Tumbler Test for meningitis is possibly the most popular method for checking whether a baby has meningitis. It is a quick and simple test, but is it a little late?
There are other clues and indcations of meningitis that could be present well before the rash appears.
However, we can’t turn the clock back, so let us look at the tumbler test although it must be stressed that If you are concerned about a baby with possible meningitis, don’t wait for a rash to appear – seek medical help immediately.
The Tumbler Test
Press a smooth glass tumbler firmly against the rash. What you are looking for are spots or marks visible through the glass – if so you need to get urgent medical care immediately.
Take it a step further and look for tiny red or brown pin-prick marks on other areas of the body, examine everywhere but be mindful that these can quickly change into larger red or purple blotches and blood blisters. .
Children with darker skin can be more difficult to see the rash, the darker they are, the harder it is to see so check lighter skin areas such as palms and soles.
If there are just a few spots, small rash or indeed no rash at all.Still seek medical help – do not hesitate
Before you need to do the tumbler test, there are symptoms that present themselves first, some of these are:
Fever, (Although often absent in babies less than three months of age)
Clearly a baby cannot report a headache but look for signs of baby being ‘off’, out of character. Such as constant crying, inconsilable, no appetite, even aggressive. The won’t react or engage with their favourite toy, music, book or program.
They may be stiff and react to limb pain, have paler than normal skin, cold hands and feet (these often appear earlier than the rash).
They don’t like bright lights and seemed confused as if they just don’t know what they want – their eyes seem like ‘the lights are on but there is nobody in’.
Look for a tense or bulging soft spot on their head
Not everyone gets all of these symptoms
Your know your child best; examine them often, trust your own instincts and act fast