Meningitis is a bacterial infection on the brain which can be pretty debilitating and even deadly. The infection affects the meninges, the membranes located around the brain and spinal cord that have the role of protecting the central nervous system.
In the USA alone, there were more than 4000 cases of meningitis between 2003-2007, with 500 of the having a fatal outcome. Bacterial meningitis is the second most common type of viral meningitis, and is especially dangerous for infants and children. The infection spreads like wildfire in public places and causes symptoms such as stiff neck, confusion, headaches, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light.
The main causes of meningitis
The most common types of bacteria which may cause the infection are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Listeria monocytogenes, Streptococcus (group B), H. Influenzae and N. meningitides. The infection usually spreads through saliva, sneeze droplets, blood and coughing, but may also spread through food as well.
Meningitis risk factors
As we already mentioned, infants are more at risk of meningitis. The common risk factors are a weakened immune system, head and neck infections, working in a setting with meningitis pathogens, travelling to areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, skull fractures and some surgeries.
The symptoms of the infection can appear suddenly after a few days. They include rashes, fever, headaches, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, confusion, cold hands, vomiting and muscle pain. Infants may experience other symptoms such as floppy or stiff muscles, quick and shallow breathing, loss of appetite and excessive crying with a high-pitched moan.
Meningitis glass rash test
Meningitis rashes usually occur when blood leaks beneath the skin. It may start as a few spots on one body part, but can quickly spread in a form which looks like bruising. You can do a simple test with a glass in order to determine if the rash is caused by meningitis. Simply press the glass on the affected area – if the rash loses color over pressure, it’s definitely caused by meningitis. If the rashes don’t subside over time, you need to visit a doctor.
In general, doctors recommend oxygen therapy, sedatives and fluids, especially if the patient is vomiting frequently. Anticonvulsants are also recommended, as is paracetamol along cooling pads or room ventilation in order to reduce the fever. Antibiotics are administered intravenously and corticosteroids are given to reduce the inflammation in the brain. Due to the serious nature of the infection, we suggest following your doctor’s orders.
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