Causes and treatment of meningitis

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Meningitis is the swelling of the lining that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord, and triggered by an infection. Infections usually happen in children, teens, and young adults as well as older adults who have long-term illness or a weakened immune system.

There are two kinds of meningitis – viral and bacterial. Viral meningitis causes prolonged seizures and fever while bacterial meningitis needs to be treated to prevent brain damage and even death. Meningitis is very contagious since the germs can be passed from person to another through coughing and sneezing and a close contact with the infected person. If you want to learn more about this condition, read here.

Common symptoms of meningitis

  • Fever and headaches
  • A stiff and painful neck when touching the chin to the chest.
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures and trouble staying awake
Meningitis
A stiff and painful neck when touching the chin to the chest.

Older people and children who have other medical conditions have these symptoms:

  • Babies are irritable and refuse to eat; a rash will develop and cries when held.
  • Young children will act as if they have flu, where they have cough and difficulty in breathing.
  • Older adults and people will experience slight fever and headaches.

Causes of meningitis

Meningitis is caused by bacteria and viruses that live in our bodies such as the intestines, nose and throat, where they may or not make us sick. They spread to the tissues or meninges that are surrounding the brain and the spinal cord, and causes them to be inflamed and this inflammation is called meningitis. The germs that cause meningitis are very contagious, thus they can be passed from one person to another.

Treatment and home remedies

  • Resting promotes healing and minimizes symptoms like headaches. Do some quite activities like reading books, playing board games, watching television and listening to music can also help.
  • Place a cool compress or cool washcloth on the forehead, take a cool bath and medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to minimize fever.
  • Drink plenty of liquids like water, teas, juices, and rehydration solutions to prevent dehydration. If the person vomits, he/she should avoid eating solid foods and take small sips of water or other drinks.
  • Watch for signs of complications like a fever lasting longer than expected and the person experiences seizures. People with these kinds of complications should seek medical care as soon as possible.

Prevention of meningitis

Childhood vaccinations can help in preventing meningitis. These shots will prevent germs from causing some diseases and conditions that leads to meningitis. The vaccinations include the following:

  • Measles, mumps and rubella
  • Chickenpox
  • Pneumococcal disease or (PPSV or PCV) since these shots protects people from bacteria that causes meningitis death.
  • Meningococcal disease shot is for people who are at high risk like travelers to other countries known to have outbreaks of meningitis, those people without a spleen and people with HIV.

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