Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Meningitis Symptoms, Complications, Treatment

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a virus or bacteria. Bacterial meningitis is much more serious than viral meningitis and requires aggressive treatment as soon as possible. However, because bacterial meningitis shares symptoms with both viral meningitis and the flu, it sometimes is not accurately diagnosed or treated.

It is important that you are tested and treated for bacterial meningitis if that is what ails you because bacterial meningitis can cause brain damage, hearing loss, or even death.

Meningitis: Is there a doctor in the house?
Newborns tend to exhibit irritability, a high pitched cry, a lack of appetite, vomiting, fever, seizures, and a bulging soft spot on top of their head.
Children tend get a high fever, intense headache, vomiting, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, confusion, drowsiness, and seizures.
Adults may show no symptoms except an altered state and lethargy.

If you or your child experiences any of these symptoms then you should visit your doctor immediately and request to be tested for meningitis.
If you have viral meningitis then you will likely be treated for your symptoms, such as fever and vomiting.
If you have bacterial meningitis then you will begin a course of antibiotics and possibly steroids and seizure medication. Members of your family are also likely to be treated if they were exposed to the disease.

The complications of bacterial meningitis are severe. It is estimated that 25-30% of people inflicted with the illness die from it and that 60% of newborns end up with brain damage. So, if your doctor even suspects bacterial meningitis as a cause for your symptoms then request to begin antibiotics while you wait for the results from the spinal tap which will confirm the diagnosis.

No comments: