What is Meningitis?
Meningitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord (meninges). This disease is most often caused by a virus, but in some cases, it can be caused by bacteria or fungi.
Some typical signs of inflammation of the lining of the brain include headache, fever, and stiff neck. Although some cases can recover in a few weeks, in some cases can be life-threatening and even death. If you feel that you or a family member has this disease, see your doctor immediately.
Meningitis can occur at any age. However, it most often attacks people with weakened immune systems such as children, the elderly, and people with HIV / AIDS.
The symptoms of meningitis are:
- Fever and chills, especially in newborns and children
- Changes in mental conditions such as confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitive to glare (photophobia)
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Frequent fainting
There may be signs and symptoms that are not mentioned above. If you have concerns about a specific symptom, consult your doctor.
Viral meningitis can be cured without treatment, but bacterial meningitis can be serious and develop very quickly as well as require rapid antibiotic treatment to increase the chances of recovery. Delaying treatment for bacterial infection increases the risk of permanent brain damage and other permanent harmful effects.
The most common cause of meningitis is a virus. Other causes include bacteria, fungi, parasites, chemicals, drugs, and tumors.
If the cause is bacterial, then these bacteria include Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniac, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella sp, Group B. Streptococcus. Bacteria will spread through breathing and throat secretions (coughing, kissing). Protecting yourself by maintaining cleanliness is important.
If the infection is caused by a virus, then several types of viruses that cause this disease are influenza virus, herpes simplex virus, varicella zoster virus, West Nile virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, and measles virus (mumps and measles).
Certain factors that can increase your risk of developing this disease are:
- No meningitis vaccine
- Most cases of viral infection occur in children younger than 5 years
- Weak immune system
- People who have just had a bone marrow transplant
- Have a history of diabetes
- If you are pregnant, you increase your risk of contracting listeriosis (an infection caused by Listeria bacteria)
The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.
Treatment for meningitis depends on the causes. For viral infections, the doctor will treat the symptoms and wait for the infection to heal by itself. For bacterial infections, patients may need to be hospitalized in order to be monitored by doctors and nurses.
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The usual treatment includes antibiotic therapy through infusion, drinking plenty of fluids, and resting. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial inflammation of the lining of the brain and cannot treat viral infection. Antiviral drugs can be given to people with herpes meningitis.
Some lifestyle changes and home remedies that can help you deal with meningitis are:
- Understanding the dangers of bacterial meningitis. This condition is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention and care.
- Diligent hand washing and maintain personal hygiene in order to avoid exposure to infectious agents.
- If you are pregnant, cook your food until it is really cooked. Avoid raw foods and dairy products and their unpasteurized derivatives.