Meningitis is an uncommon disorder that can affect both children and adults by the acute inflammation of the meninges. There are three forms of meningitis and they are; bacterial, viral, and fungal. Bacterial meningitis can be life threatening to those affected. It spreads by close contact with individuals and the infected person, like a cough or a sneeze. Viral meningitis is less threatening than bacterial. When an individual develops this disorder, they typically recover without treatment. The last form of meningitis and also the most rare form is fungal.
Fungal meningitis is only developed in individuals with compromised immune systems, so for an example people with AIDS would be much more susceptible to get fungal meningitis. All forms of Meningitis usually begins somewhere else in the body other than the brain, for example in the ears or throat. There are also less common causes on meningitis such as tuberculosis, cancer medications, and autoimmune disorders.
Meningitis is very serious with symptoms that will develop over several hours or even several days depending what form you have. Symptoms could even mimic the flu virus for the first few days. More concrete symptoms of meningitis that are found in any individual older than the age of two are sudden high fever, difficulty concentrating, seizures, difficulty waking up, sensitivity to light, and no appetite.
The most common symptoms of this disorder is a severe headache and neck stiffness. Infants have similar symptoms but differ slightly. In an infant meningitis symptoms consist of; high fever, constant crying, excessive sleepiness, inactivity, stiffness in their body or neck, and a lump in the fontanel of their head. If any individual has the symptoms that are relentless a doctor’s advice should be seeked, The testing process for meningitis can be very extensive.
For diagnostic testing there are many options a doctor could choose to test their patient. One test is called blood cultures which is when blood samples are placed in a specific dish and observed for the growth of microorganisms, specifically bacteria. If this is observed the sample may be gram stained and further observed under a microscope. Another diagnostic test that can be done is imaging.
Doctors can either use a Computerized tomography scan or a magnetic resonance scan to show swelling or inflammation. This may also lead doctors to use a X-ray machine to identify infection associated with meningitis in the chest or sinuses. One of the most common test used for diagnosing meningitis is the spinal tap. This is used to collect cerebrospinal fluid which will show low glucose levels along with increased white blood cell count and increased protein.
These all allow doctors to effectively diagnosis their patient with meningitis. The treatment of meningitis depends on the form you have; bacterial, viral, or fungal. Bacterial meningitis must be treated immediately. The use of an IV will be administered to give the infected body antibiotics. Corticosteroids have become a more modern aid in treating bacterial meningitis as well. These help reduce the risk of brain swelling and seizures during the recovery period. The antibiotics given to the patient will be specific for the form of bacteria found.
Viral meningitis is treated usually by itself. Over the weeks after being diagnosed it begins to clear itself out of the body’s system but to help aid that process doctors tell patients to rest, drink fluids to stay hydrated, and mild pain relievers to help with body aches. Depending on the severity of the case, the doctor might prescribe a corticosteroid to reduce brain swelling. Other forms of meningitis is treated in specific ways.
Antifungal medications are given to help cure fungal meningitis and if the cause is unclear the doctors will prescribe a general medicine until the cause it determined. All in all, meningitis like any other disorder is very serious. Individuals with symptoms should seek a doctor’s attention and should not try to diagnose themselves off the internet.
It is always better to be safe than sorry!