Meningitis Treatment and Prevention

Having meningitis means that the fluid and three membranes (meninges) that protect your spinal cord and brain are inflamed.

Meningitis often results from a bacterial or viral infection. Several other factors may also have a role −

  • Fungi

  • Cancer

  • Symptoms brought on by medication

Meningitis may be caused by viruses or bacteria and can spread easily from person to person. Coughing, sneezing, and prolonged close contact are all ways to spread these germs.

The Many Forms of Meningitis

Meningitis is often brought on by a bacterial or viral infection. Meningitis may also take a number of different forms. Cases in point are the fungal-infected cryptococcal and the cancer-related carcinomatous. They aren't as prevalent as you may think.

Infectious/viral Meningitis

The vast majority of cases of meningitis are due to viral infections. Almost half of all cases in adults are caused by enteroviruses, and nearly six in ten cases in newborns are caused by enteroviruses.

Meningitis Caused by Bacteria

Bacterial meningitis that may spread from person to person is caused by a bacterial infection. If untreated, it might be lethal. Bacterial meningitis kills around 1 in 10 persons (reliable source) and causes severe consequences for 1 in 5 (reliable source).

Meningitis Caused by Fungi

Meningitis caused by fungi is quite uncommon. Fungal infection travels through the body and eventually reaches the central nervous system.

Fungal meningitis is more common in those with compromised immune systems. Those with terminal illnesses like cancer or HIV/AIDS fall into this category.

Meningitis Caused by Parasites

Parasites found in the ground, dung, and on certain animals and food like snails, raw fish, chicken, or veggies are the rare but real cause of this kind of meningitis.

Non-infectious Meningitis

Unlike infectious meningitis, non-infectious meningitis does not spread from person to person. Instead, this is a secondary kind of meningitis brought on by something else, such as a virus or antibiotics.

Meningitis Symptoms - What Exactly are they?

There may be an initial overlap between the presentations of viral and bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis symptoms, on the other hand, tend to be more severe. Some of the symptoms also change as you get older.

Symptoms of Viral Meningitis

  • Infants with viral meningitis may experience the following −

  • Reduced hunger and edginess

  • Vomiting \diarrhea \rash

Symptoms Involving the Respiratory System

Symptoms of viral meningitis in adults may include −

  • Constants, high body temperature, stiff neck, convulsions, and photophobia

  • Sleepiness \lethargy

  • Feelings of sickness and vomiting

  • Reduced hunger

  • State of mind modification

Symptoms of Bacterial Meningitis

The onset of symptoms from bacterial meningitis is rapid. Potential examples are −

  • Mental state modification

  • Feeling sick, throwing up, being sensitive to light, and being cranky

  • Headache \fever \chills

  • A painfully stiff neck and bruise-like purple patches of skin

  • Sleepiness \lethargy

Symptoms of Fungal Meningitis

Fungal meningitis has symptoms with the other kinds of this illness. Examples of such things may be −

  • Sickness and vomiting

  • Light sensitivity, neck stiffness

  • Fever, and a headache.

  • A pervasive feeling of illness accompanied by perplexity and disorientation.

Where does Meningitis come from, Exactly?

While the root of the many forms of meningitis may vary, their effects are universal: When a bacteria, fungus, virus, or parasite infects a host, it travels via the bloodstream, the ends of nerves, or even into the dormant nervous system before causing damage. To progress to a more severe infection, it must first establish a foothold in the protective lining or fluids that surround these organs.

To put it simply, non-infectious meningitis is caused by anything other than an infection, such as a physical injury.

How do Doctors deal with Meningitis?

What you do about your meningitis depends on what caused it.

  • Bacterial Meningitis − Hospitalization is necessary right away for bacterial meningitis. Brain injury and death may be avoided if medical professionals catch the problem early. Intravenous antibiotics and steroids are used to treat bacterial meningitis. For bacterial meningitis, there is currently no effective treatment. It all comes down to the specific bacteria in question.

  • Fungal Meningitis − The treatment for fungal meningitis is an antifungal medication. Parasitic meningitis treatment options include symptomatic relief and antimicrobial therapy. The need for antibiotic therapy, in this case, depends on the underlying reason. Your doctor may attempt to treat the infection if it worsens.

  • Viral Meningitis − It may go away on its own, but there are rare cases that need antiviral drugs given intravenously. First, the underlying cause must be addressed in the case of chronic meningitis, which may be anything like a fungal infection or an inflammatory disorder like rheumatoid arthritis.

Does Meningitis Vaccination Exist?

Many strains of bacterial meningitis have vaccines available. Neisseria meningitides, the causative agent of meningococcal disease, are preventable with a vaccination. Bacterial meningitis is more deadly if not treated promptly, while viral meningitis is more prevalent.

Hence, the two main Vaccinations for Meningitis are Against Bacterial Strains:

The vaccine included inside the meningococcal conjugate (also known as MenACWY) is effective against four of the most frequent bacterial serotypes. If you get booster doses often, the effects will stay longer, and the protection will be stronger.

The protection period for the Serogroup B meningococcal, or MenB, vaccination is much shorter since it only protects against one strain. This vaccination is only approved for use in certain groups.

The Meningitis Vaccination may have the Following side Effects

  • Infusion site pain, redness, and/or burning.

  • Discomfort from chills and a low-grade fever for two days after an injection

  • Soreness in the head, shoulders, and knees, and general exhaust

During three to seven days, you should feel better.

To be Used Under Certain Circumstances

The CDC recommends being vaccinated against meningitis only if you meet certain criteria, including when you are −

  • Certain medical disorders

  • Those whose professions require them to interact with microbes.

  • Itinerary changes to more meningitis-prone regions

  • Anybody at a higher risk of contracting the meningococcal illness as a result of the current epidemic.

If you or your kid fit any of the above descriptions, it is highly recommended that you discuss being vaccinated against meningitis with your doctor as soon as possible.

Updated on: 03-Mar-2023


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