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Causes, Symptoms And Treatments As You Avoid Meningitis!

Viral Meningitis

It is on the break-out in Nigeria. You may not know its signs unless you have the necesary knowledge about the disease itself.

Meningitis is generally caused by infection of viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and certain organisms. Anatomical defects or weak immune systems may be linked to recurrent bacterial meningitis. In the majority of cases the cause is a virus. However, some non-infectious causes of meningitis also exist.Bacteria mimic human cells to get in and stay in

As meningitis and septicemia tend to show similar symptoms and incidences of both tend to rise and fall at the same time in geographical areas, this section refers to both meningitis and septicemia.

Meningitis is not always easy to recognize. In many cases meningitis may be progressing with no symptoms at all. In its early stages, symptoms might be similar to those of flu. However, people with meningitis and septicemia can become seriously ill within hours, so it is important to know the signs and symptoms. Early symptoms of meningitis broadly include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pain
  • High temperature (fever)
  • Headache
  • Cold hands and feet
  • A rash that does not fade under pressure. This rash might start as a few small spots in any part of the body – it may spread rapidly and look like fresh bruises. This happens because blood has leaked into tissue under the skin. The rash or spots may initially fade, and then come back.

In babies, you should look out for at least one of the following symptoms:

  • a high-pitched, moaning cry
  • a bulging fontenelle
  • being difficult to wake
  • floppy and listless or stiff with jerky movements
  • refusing feeds
  • rapid/ unusual/ difficult breathing
  • pale or blotchy skin
  • red or purple spots that do not fade under pressure

In older children, you should look out for:

  • a stiff neck
  • severe pains and aches in your back and joints
  • sleepiness or confusion
  • a very bad headache (alone, not a reason to seek medical help)
  • a dislike of bright lights
  • very cold hands and feet
  • shivering
  • rapid breathing
  • red or purple spots that do not fade under pressure
  • Meningitis treatment will generally depend on four main factors:
    • The age of the patient
    • The severity of the infection
    • What organism is causing it?
    • Are other medical conditions present?

    Viral meningitis will resolve itself fairly quickly and does not usually need any medical treatment. If symptoms continue after two weeks the person should see his/her doctor.

    The treatment for severe meningitis, which is nearly always bacterial (but can be viral), may require hospitalization, and includes:

    • Antibiotics – usually administered intravenously by injection, or through an IV.
    • Corticosteroids – if the patient’s meningitis is causing pressure in the brain, corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone, may be administered to adults and children.
    • Acetaminophen (paracetamol) – effective in bringing the patient’s temperature down. Other methods for reducing the patient’s fever may include a cool sponge bath, cooling pads, plenty of fluids, and good room ventilation.
    • Anti-convulsants – if the patient has seizures (fits), he/she will be given an anti-convulsant, such as phenobarbital or dilantin.
    • Oxygen therapy – if the patient has breathing difficulties oxygen therapy may be given. This may involve a face mask, a nasal cannula, a hood, or a tent. In more severe cases a tube may be inserted into the trachea via the mouth.
    • Fluid control – dehydration is common for patients with meningitis. If a meningitis patient is dehydrated he/she may develop serious problems. It is crucial that he/she is receiving adequate amounts of fluids. If the patient is vomiting, or cannot drink, liquids may be given through an IV.
    • Blood tests – measuring the patient’s blood sugar and sodium is important, as well as other vital body chemicals.
    • Sedatives – these are given if the patient is irritable or restless.

    If the meningitis is severe the patient may be placed in an ICU (intensive care unit).



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