Encephalitisenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P-infectEnceph-enHD-AR1.jpgEncephalitis is a rare brain inflammation caused by a virus. The best way to avoid encephalitis is to prevent the illnesses that may lead to it.drowsiness, coma, seizures, nausea, vomiting, brain, my child has encephalitis, dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, mumps, measles, chicken pox, chickenpox, varicella, viral illnesses, herpes simplex virus, hsv encephalitis, inflammation of the brain, acute viral encephalitis, aseptic encephalitis, cold sores, herpes blisters, common childhood illnesses, immunizations, vaccines, shots, vaccination schedules, contagious, lumbar punctures, spinal taps, blood tests, neurology, CD1Infectious Disease03/22/200002/01/201909/02/2019Marcella A. Escoto, DO01/01/2019795b42b2-aa4c-40bc-98b2-f823dc931441https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/encephalitis.html/<h3>What Is Encephalitis?</h3> <p>Encephalitis is an inflammation (swelling and irritation)&nbsp;of the brain. In most cases, a virus causes this inflammation.</p> <p>Encephalitis is also called acute viral encephalitis or aseptic encephalitis.</p> <h3>Who Gets Encephalitis?</h3> <p>Encephalitis (in-seh-fuh-LYE-tus) is a rare disease. Most cases happen in children, the elderly, and people with a weakened <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/immune.html/">immune system</a> (from <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hiv.html/">HIV/AIDS</a>, cancer, etc.).</p> <p>Several thousand cases of encephalitis are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) every year. But health experts think that many more cases happen that aren't reported because symptoms vary and can be mild.</p> <h3>What Are the Signs &amp; Symptoms of Encephalitis?</h3> <p>Symptoms in mild cases of encephalitis usually include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/fever.html/">fever</a></li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/headache.html/">headache</a></li> <li>poor appetite</li> <li>loss of energy</li> <li>a general sick feeling</li> </ul> <p>Serious cases of encephalitis can cause:</p> <ul> <li>a high fever</li> <li>severe headache</li> <li>nausea and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/vomit.html/">vomiting</a></li> <li>stiff neck</li> <li>confusion</li> <li>personality changes</li> <li>convulsions (<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/seizure.html/">seizures</a>)</li> <li>problems with speech or hearing</li> <li>hallucinations</li> <li>memory loss</li> <li>drowsiness</li> <li>coma</li> </ul> <p>It's harder to spot some of these symptoms in infants. Important signs to look for include:</p> <ul> <li>vomiting</li> <li>a full or bulging soft spot (fontanel)</li> <li>crying that doesn't stop or that seems worse when the baby is picked up or handled</li> <li>body stiffness</li> </ul> <p>Because encephalitis can happen during or after common viral illnesses, symptoms of these illnesses can start before encephalitis happens. But often, it appears without warning.</p> <h3>What Causes Encephalitis?</h3> <p>Three groups of viruses are common causes of encephalitis:</p> <ol class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Herpes viruses, such as <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/chicken-pox.html/">chickenpox</a>, EBV (Epstein-Barr virus, which causes <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/mono.html/">mono</a>), and herpes simplex (which causes <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cold-sores.html/">cold sores</a>).</li> <li>Viruses and other <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/germs.html/">germs</a> transmitted by insects, like <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/west-nile.html/">West Nile virus</a> (spread through a mosquito bite) and the germs that cause <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/lyme.html/">Lyme disease</a> and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/rocky.html/">Rocky Mountain spotted fever</a> (spread through <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/tick-bites-sheet.html/">tick bites</a>).</li> <li>Viruses that cause once-common childhood infections, such as <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/measles.html/">measles</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/mumps.html/">mumps</a>, and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/german-measles.html/">German measles</a>. Thanks to <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/mmr-vaccine.html/">immunizations</a>, it's rare today for someone to develop encephalitis from these illnesses.</li> </ol> <p>Less often, encephalitis can be:</p> <ul> <li>caused by an infection from bacteria , such as bacterial <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/meningitis.html/">meningitis</a></li> <li>a complication of other infectious diseases like <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/syphilis.html/">syphilis</a></li> <li>due to a parasite, like <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/toxoplasmosis.html/">toxoplasmosis</a> (found in infected cat feces) in people with weakened immune systems</li> </ul> <h3>Is Encephalitis Contagious?</h3> <p>Brain inflammation itself is <strong>not</strong> contagious. But the viruses that cause encephalitis <strong>can</strong> be. Of course, getting a virus does not mean that someone will develop encephalitis.</p> <h3>How Is Encephalitis Diagnosed?</h3> <p>Doctors use several tests to diagnose encephalitis, including:</p> <ul> <li>imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT) scans or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/mri.html/">magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)</a>, to check the brain for swelling, bleeding, or other problems</li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/eeg.html/">electroencephalogram (EEG)</a>, which records the electrical signals in the brain, to check for unusual brain waves</li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/labtest3.html/">blood tests</a> to look for bacteria or viruses in the blood. These also can show if the body is making antibodies (specific proteins that fight infection) in response to a germ</li> <li><a class="kh_anchor">lumbar puncture</a>, or spinal tap, which checks cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord) for signs of infection</li> </ul> <h3>How Is Encephalitis Treated?</h3> <p>Most kids with encephalitis need care in a hospital, usually in an intensive care unit (ICU). Doctors will watch their blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and body fluids to prevent further swelling of the brain.</p> <h4>Medicines</h4> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Antiviral drugs can treat some forms of encephalitis, such as the type caused by the herpes simplex virus.</li> <li>Corticosteroids may be used to reduce brain swelling.</li> <li>Anticonvulsants might be given to a child having seizures.</li> <li>Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, like <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/acetaminophen.html/">acetaminophen</a>, can help with fever and headaches.</li> <li>Antibiotics don't work against viruses, so aren't used to treat most forms of encephalitis.</li> </ul> <p>Many people with encephalitis make a full recovery. In some cases, brain swelling can cause lasting problem like learning disabilities, speech problems, memory loss, or lack of muscle control. <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/speech-therapy.html/">Speech therapy</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/phys-therapy.html/">physical therapy</a>, or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/occupational-therapy.html/">occupational therapy</a> can help in these cases.</p> <h3>How Long Does Encephalitis Last?</h3> <p>Most of the time, the acute phase of the illness (when symptoms are the most severe) lasts up to a week. Full recovery can take longer, often several weeks or months.</p> <h3>Can Encephalitis Be Prevented?</h3> <p>Encephalitis can't be prevented, but you can avoid the illnesses that may lead to it. <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/vaccine.html/">Immunizations</a>&nbsp;protect kids from many common childhood illnesses. So follow the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/vaccine.html/">immunization schedule</a> recommended by your doctor. Kids should also avoid contact with anyone who already has encephalitis.</p> <p>It's also important for everyone in your family to <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hand-washing.html/">wash their hands</a> well and often.</p> <p>To avoid mosquito bites, kids should:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.</li> <li>Wear protective clothing outside, like long sleeves and long pants.</li> <li>Use insect repellent.</li> </ul> <p>Drain standing water from around your home, including in buckets, birdbaths, flowerpots, and tire swings. These are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.</p> <p>To avoid <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/tick-removal.html/">tick bites</a>:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Limit kids' contact with soil, leaves, and vegetation.</li> <li>Have kids wear long-sleeved, light-colored shirts and long pants when outdoors.</li> <li>Check your kids and your pets for ticks when they come inside.</li> </ul> <h3>When Should I Call the Doctor?</h3> <p>Call your doctor if your child has a high fever, especially if he or she also has a childhood illness (like measles, mumps, or chickenpox) or is recovering from one.</p> <p>Get medical care right away if your child has any of these symptoms:</p> <ul> <li>a severe headache</li> <li>convulsions (seizures)</li> <li>stiff neck</li> <li>can't look at bright lights</li> <li>double vision</li> <li>trouble walking</li> <li>problems with speech or hearing</li> <li>trouble moving an arm or leg</li> <li>loss of sensation anywhere in the body</li> <li>sudden personality changes</li> <li>problems with memory</li> <li>extreme drowsiness</li> <li>loss of consciousness (passing out)</li> </ul> <p>Get medical care right away if your baby has any of these symptoms:</p> <ul> <li>high fever or any fever higher than 100.4&deg;F (38&deg;C) in infants younger than 3 months old</li> <li>fullness or bulging in the soft spot</li> <li>any stiffness</li> <li>floppiness</li> <li>weakness</li> <li>poor appetite or reduced feeding</li> <li>vomiting</li> <li>crying that won't stop</li> </ul>EncefalitisLa encefalitis es una enfermedad muy poco frecuente. La mayoría de los casos se dan en niños, ancianos y otras personas con sistemas inmunitarios debilitados.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/encephalitis-esp.html/218a6a3f-d7c7-45ec-9c9d-bef33353ac21
ChickenpoxChickenpox used to be common in kids, causing a very itchy red rash all over the body. But the good news is that a vaccine can prevent most cases.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/chicken-pox.html/34caabeb-2cf0-41e8-b236-d3714ba46d03
EncephalitisEncephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. Although encephalitis sounds scary, understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment can help you feel prepared to deal with it if you ever need to.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/encephalitis.html/6f01f58e-e2d4-4a10-a028-af505fed561c
FeversFevers happen when the body's internal "thermostat" raises the body temperature above normal. This is often the body's way of fighting infections.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/fever.html/42ab5a5d-1c03-493e-acf5-0ac569d1b946
Lyme DiseaseThe best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Find out more about this disease and how to keep those ticks away.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/lyme-disease.html/5507f2c4-2853-46bd-8f22-271a0e8241a9
MeningitisYou may be wondering what the deal is with meningitis because you've heard frightening stuff about meningitis outbreaks in the news.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/meningitis.html/810ea9e2-c86a-4d28-a819-e48f10e7de35
West Nile VirusThe threat of West Nile virus has made getting a mosquito bite a cause for concern. What is West Nile virus, and what can you do to prevent it?https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/west-nile.html/444f736f-d5c1-4f56-9ce3-7e3068410278
kh:age-allAgesOrAgeAgnostickh:clinicalDesignation-infectiousDiseasekh:clinicalDesignation-neurologykh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-emergencyMedicineBacterial & Viral Infectionshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/infections/bacterial-viral/401507d2-7822-44aa-8109-e54dc4c18e61