Close look on meningitis

Meningitis involves infection of the fluid in the spinal cord and fluid surrounding the brain. The condition is often triggered by a bacterial or viral infection. It is vital to determine if the condition is present due to its severity and the treatment tends to vary.

What are the types?

Viral meningitis

This type of meningitis is less severe and subsides without requiring a specific treatment.

Bacterial meningitis

This type can be severe and even result to hearing loss, brain damage or learning disability. If this type is suspected, it is vital to determine which type of bacteria is responsible since antibiotics can prevent certain types from spreading and infecting other individuals. At the present, the leading causes of the bacterial type include Neisseria meningitides and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Meningitis

Stiff neck is one of the symptoms of meningitis.

What are the indications?

These are the common indications of meningitis among those over 2 years old. Remember that these symptoms can manifest over several hours or take 1-2 days. Other symptoms that might develop include the following:

  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness

Among newborns and infants, the characteristic symptoms of headache, fever and neck stiffness might be absent or hard to detect and the infant might only appear sluggish or inactive or even irritable, feeding poorly or vomiting. As the condition progresses, individuals of any age can experience seizures.

Diagnosis

Prompt diagnosis and treatment are vital. In case symptoms occur, it is vital to consult a doctor right away. A diagnosis is usually decided on by taking a sample of the spinal fluid. The fluid is acquired using a spinal tap in which a needle is injected into a region in the lower back where fluid in the canal is accessible. The identification of the specific type of bacteria is essential for choosing the right antibiotic to use.

Treatment

When it comes to bacterial cases, they are managed using various antibiotics. Remember that treatment must be started early in the course of the disease. Proper treatment using antibiotics can minimize the risk for death but it is higher among the elderly.

Is it contagious?

There are certain forms of bacterial meningitis that are contagious. The bacteria spread via respiratory and throat secretions. Luckily, none of the bacteria that trigger meningitis are as communicable as the flu or common cold and not spread via casual contact or by inhaling the air where an individual with the condition has been.

Nevertheless, there were cases that the bacteria responsible for the condition have spread to others who had close or prolonged exposure especially cases caused by Neisseria meningitides.

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