Meningitis is a very serious disease that can be extremely dangerous and even cause death if one doesn’t recognize the symptoms of meningitis and get treatment soon enough. Meningitis involves the meninges of the brain becoming inflamed. These membranes of the brain and the spinal cord are attacked in this disease by a virus or bacterium, or in some instances, other causes.
Two Type of Meningitis
The viral form of meningitis is the most common, and it isn’t as dangerous as the bacterial form. The symptoms of meningitis can be mistaken for the flu or a bad cold, so sometimes they aren’t noticed very quickly. Meningitis is something that spreads quickly in situations where many people are living close together such as in college dorms, military boot camps, or boarding schools.
If it is diagnosed quickly, meningitis can be successfully treated, so it is vital to understand the symptoms of meningitis. Sometimes it is a complication of another type of infection and then the germs spread to the spinal fluid and the brain. This may occur due to a bad sinus or ear infection, which is close to the brain and so the germs won’t have as far to go to infect the brain.
What to look for in Meningitis
Babies who have contracted meningitis show the symptoms of meningitis differently in some cases. They might only show one or two of the above symptoms such as being irritable or perhaps having a high fever. The other symptoms a baby may show include jaundice or a rigid neck or body, plus they may have trouble eating, have an odd high pitched cry, and the soft spot on their head may bulge out.
How is Meningitis treated?
It is vital to see the doctor immediately if you suspect you or your child has the symptoms of meningitis. The doctor will take a spinal tap and get a sample of spinal fluid to test for meningitis, which will show the type of virus or bacterium affecting the victim. If it is discovered that they do have it, then treatment normally consists of fluids, pain relief, and in the case of bacterial meningitis, a series of intravenous antibiotics is given.
In some cases, meningitis can also damage a person’s hearing, vision or cause damage to the heart or kidneys. It may even cause lifelong neurological issues if it is not treated fast enough. Due to the seriousness of meningitis, it is recommended that children be vaccinated against it. A vaccine is available for kids at age 11 and a booster when they turn 16.
All in all, it is vital to be able to recognize the symptoms of meningitis so that these complications, or even death, can be avoided.