Understanding the Symptoms of Meningitis
Understanding the Symptoms of Meningitis

As far as inflammations are concerned, meningitis is understandably the most difficult one to treat and deal with. It is a condition that is well-researched and monitored. It is an infection of sorts, that means treatment isn’t very difficult to figure out.

Meningitis is essentially an inflammation that occurs along with the possible swelling of the protective membrane that covers our spinal cord and brain. The swelling and inflammation can be caused by a number of reasons—but a common cause is a bacterial or viral infection on this covering.

Here is a broader understanding of the meningitis symptoms and how you can deal with this disease.

What and How
As we already know what meningitis is—understanding the cause and treatment is far more important—the symptoms are fairly similar across the board. However, how it affects you is something that you need to understand.

The most common cause of meningitis in the country is either a bacterial or viral infection. Interestingly, many cases of meningitis get resolved by themselves, but others can be life-threatening and deadly. They need to be treated with emergency antibiotics. That is why it’s never okay to risk not getting meningitis checked. Identifying meningitis symptoms, therefore, also takes prime importance.

Here are a few different types of meningitis to help you understand the differences and levels of severity.

Bacterial Meningitis
This kind of meningitis starts with a bacteria invading your body that travels to the spinal cord and the brain region. This causes what is known as acute bacterial meningitis. However, another way this can occur is if the bacteria gets access to the meninges directly.

This is often the case during a nasal, ear, or throat infection—but can also happen during skull fractures and even surgeries.

Of course, there are some kinds of bacteria are more likely to cause acute bacterial meningitis than others. Knowing what kind of bacterial infection you have can help your doctor identify the likelihood that meningitis will occur. Here are a few strains of bacteria that most commonly cause meningitis.

  • Haemophilus Influenzae (Haemophilus)
    It used to once wreak havoc in infants; however, now, there are vaccines for this bacteria.
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae (Pneumococcus)
    This is the bacteria you need to worry about. It’s the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the country. It starts mostly as a nasal infection, so make sure you have a vaccine for this.
  • Listeria Monocytogenes (Listeria)
    This bacteria is easy to contract and can be found on luncheon meats and unpasteurized cheese. Those with a weak immunity are at a greater risk, including pregnant women. That’s because this bacteria can cross the blood and placental barrier and infect the unborn baby.
  • Neisseria meningitidis (Meningococcus)
    This bacteria affects young adults and teens more than any other age group. What makes it dangerous is that it’s highly contagious, often causing small localized epidemics. However, this too can be avoided with vaccines. This is the deadliest kind of meningitis there is.

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis are easy to spot. They generally appear within a week of contracting the infection. There are both early and late symptoms. The early symptoms are as follows.

  • Muscle pain
  • Sensitivity to all kinds of light
  • Nausea and vomiting accompanied by fever
  • Mottled skin along with cold extremities

The easiest symptom to look for and analyze yourself is the rash that generally accompanies other symptoms. If you notice a rash, apply some pressure on it. If the pressure causes the rash to lose color, then it isn’t a meningitis rash.

If it doesn’t lose any color then you should visit the doctor immediately. Later, the meningitis symptoms evolve into more serious ones such as coma and seizures.

Other Kinds of Meningitis and Their Symptoms

Viral Meningitis
It is one of the least serious kinds of meningitis and often resolves by its own. It is known to be caused by enteroviruses that inflate during the summer and fall seasons. Viral meningitis symptoms might seem to resemble a common cold but it might not go away in a week or so. If your symptoms of meningitis does not disappear after a week, then you must definitely visit a doctor. It is always better to take medical help when you are unsure about something.

Fungal Meningitis
It is a far more uncommon kind of meningitis compared to the others and can be difficult to differentiate between fungal and bacterial meningitis. This is because the symptoms of meningitis in both these cases are the same. It is not contagious but it is life-threatening and should be treated immediately.

Chronic Meningitis
It is caused by slow-growing invaders such as fungi and certain kinds of bacteria. The meningitis symptoms usually include fever and mentally disoriented state. It has a chronic nature and the condition worsens slowly over time, causing a delay in diagnosis.

If you notice any such symptoms, consult a doctor and get medication as soon as possible.

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