Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective envelope surrounding the brain and spinal cord, which is known as the meninx. This inflammation can be caused by virus infections, bacteria and other microorganisms, sometimes even some medicines. It is a condition which can definitely endanger one’s life because, after all, it is an inflammation near the brain, so this should be considered as an emergency. Many people think that you can get diagnosed with exclusive spinal cord meningitis, but this isn’t true. In case of meningitis, both of organs are influenced, and closely related to each other in terms of symptoms cause.
Most common spinal meningitis symptoms are headache and neck stiffness, usually accompanied by fever and an altered state of mind. Vomiting as well as photophobia are most obvious symptoms and usually serve as an indication that meningitis might be possible. Children tend to show unusual symptoms like drowsiness and uncontrolled rage. In case of a rash there might be a special cause for meningitis, like the meningococcal bacteria which is usually followed by an irregular rash. Puncture of the liquor establishes a diagnosis or excludes the condition totally. The needle is usually inserted into the spine channel so that a sample of cerebrospinal fluid can be extracted. This fluid is then tested in a laboratory.
Back to symptoms – the most common sign of the disease with adults is a strong, almost unbearable headache, which is present in about 90% of cases of the bacterial meningitis. It’s also followed by strong neck stiffness, meaning that the patient can’t stretch head forwards due to higher muscular tone on the back. A classic triad of diagnostic symptoms would be neck stiffness, sudden fever and an altered state of mind. Still, all three signs are happening only with about 44-46% of bacterial meningitis patients. If there is not a single symptom obvious from this group, then it’s likely that there is no meningitis to be diagnosed.
Being such a difficult and intense condition, it’s best to learn about ways you can help yourself in order to prevent it from happening. Against some types of meningitis vaccination can provide a good and durable solution for a long term, while short term protection is done with antibiotics. Some changes made to the daily routine can also be highly efficient.
Bacterial and virus meningitis are both contagious diseases however not as intense as a regular flu. Both forms of meningitis are transferred via drops through the respiratory system, kissing, sneezing and coughing. Virus meningitis is usually spread via fecal matter. Danger from acquiring the condition can be lowered by reducing the risky behavior.
Back in the 1980s a lot of world countries have included immunization against bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae, during childhood. This procedure has basically eliminated meningitis which was caused by these specific bacteria. Similarly, vaccination against mumps also reduced the number of meningitis patients, which happened before in about 15% of all mumps cases. Modern medicine allows for some decent protection against meningitis so it’s easy to lower the chance of you acquiring it.