Meningitis is the swelling or inflammation of the membranes. Also referred to as the meninges around the brain and spinal cord. When these membranes become inflamed it can cause you to show the symptoms of meningitis. Most United States cases of meningitis are caused by different kinds of infections. Even if there are risk groups anyone can get this disorder at any given time.
Meningitis is most usually caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, and sometimes even fungal infections. Figuring out the cause of the disease is a very large factor in becoming healthy as quickly as possible. A few other causes of meningitis could be due to drug allergies, chemical reactions, and inflammatory diseases. There are several types of meningitis as in bacterial meningitis, fungal meningitis, viral meningitis, and chronic meningitis.
Symptoms of meningitis can vary, however, a few popular symptoms would be having pain in the areas of the back, muscles, or neck. Fever, chills, sudden high fever, headache, skin rash, lethargy, loss of appetite, malaise, and shivering are also pretty common as well. New born baby symptoms are constant crying, high fever, poor feeding, a bulge in the baby’s fontanel, which is the soft spot on a baby’s head, and stiffness in the baby’s body or neck. Lab and diagnostic testing is required during your exam, your doctor will probably check for signs around the head, ears, throat, and skin along your spine.
Your doctor may even ask about your family history to help gain further knowledge. Diagnostic testing used to diagnose meningitis are blood cultures, imaging, and spinal taps. Each of these can help your doctor diagnose your meningitis and see which bacterium caused your case of meningitis.
Treatment depends on which type of meningitis you have. Bacterial meningitis can be treated with intravenous antibiotics and corticosteroids. Viral meningitis is usually able to get better by itself over the time period of a few weeks. Bed rest, a lot of fluids, and over the counter medications can progress this healing. If you have another type of meningitis or doctors are unsure of what the cause is they may just treat it with an antibiotic until better treatment is confirmed.
Bacterial meningitis can be prevented through vaccinations these are often given to children. The vaccine protects against the three major causes of bacterial meningitis. The main three are meningococcal disease, pneumococcal meningitis, and haemophilus influenzae type b. The best two ways to prevent against meningitis are by staying up to date on your vaccinations and by strengthening your immune systems to fight against this and many other diseases. Meningitis is a very scary disorder of the neuro system.
We can watch for symptoms, be aware of those who have meningitis, and try to help contain this disease to stop the spread of it. Infants and children under the age of five are at risk of meningitis the most and children ages fifteen through nineteen are as well. Many teens do not receive the vaccination for this disease which puts them at risk even more because just by being that age they are already at risk. A lot of people do not know how dangerous meningitis is and that it is preventable by vaccine. If we all come together and help educate each other we can stop or lower the spread of meningitis in the United States. Bacterial meningitis causes around 170,000 deaths per year globally and around 500 deaths per year in the United States. However, it does affect over 4,000 people in the United States.
These numbers may seem low, but could be lower with the education of what meningitis is and how we can stop it.