MENINGITIS

Description

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges)

Symptoms

  • Newborns :
  • High fever
  • Constant crying
  • Excessive sleepiness or irritability
  • Inactivity or sluggishness
  • Poor feeding
  • A bulge in the soft spot on top of a baby’s head (fontanel)
  • Stiffness in a baby’s body and neck
  • Anyone older than the age of 2 :
  • Sudden high fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Severe headache that seems different than normal
  • Headache with nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking
  • Sensitivity to light
  • No appetite or thirst
  • Skin rash (sometimes, such as in meningococcal meningitis)

Causes

  • Enteroviruses
  • Mumps virus
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Meningococcal bacteria
  • Pneumococcal bacteria
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) bacteria
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Chemical reactions
  • Drug allergies

Risk Factors

  • Skipping vaccinations
  • Pregnancy
  • Compromised immune system
  • Living in a community setting
  • Age
  • Working with Animals

Diagnostic Tests

  • Blood cultures
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • X-rays
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Treatment

  • Intravenous antibiotics
  • Corticosteroids
  • Bed rest
  • Over-the-counter pain medications
  • Antifungal medications

Lifestyle Management

  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Rest
  • Avoid smoking
  • Practice good hygiene