Meningitis: prevention,symptoms and everything you need to know

WHAT IS MENINGITIS?

Meningitis is the Inflammation of the meninges, characterized by headache, neck stiffness and photophobia and also fever, chills, vomiting and myalgia. It is the Inflammation of membranes that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

CAUSES OF MENINGITIS;

Meningitis is basically caused by infection of microorganisms (such as viruses,bacteria,fungi,parasites e.t.c), though most cases are caused by virus.
However, research shows that some non-infectious causes of Meningitis exist.

SYMPTOMS;

Below are signs that Meningitis occurs in a body:
Fever

Severe, persistent headache
Neck stiffness and pain that makes it difficult to touch your chin to your chest
Nausea and vomiting
Confusion and disorientation (acting "goofy")
Drowsiness or sluggishness
Sensitivity to bright light
Poor appetite
More severe symptoms include seizure and coma
Abnormal skin color
Stomach cramps
Ice-cold hands and feet
Skin rash
Muscle ache or joint pain
Rapid breathing
Chills

In infants, symptoms may include fever, irritability, poor feeding, and lethargy.

MODE OF TRANSMISSION ;

Here are some of the most common examples of how people spread each type of bacteria to each other:

Mothers can pass group B Streptococcus and Escherichia coli to their babies during labor and birth.
People spread Hib and Streptococcus pneumoniae by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who breathe in the bacteria.

People spread Neisseria meningitidis by sharing respiratory or throat secretions (saliva or spit). This typically occurs during close (coughing or kissing) or lengthy (living in the same household) contact.

People can get Escherichia coli by eating food prepared by people who did not wash their hands well after using the toilet.

People usually get sick from Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes by eating contaminated food.

PREVENTION;

These steps can help prevent meningitis:

Wash your hands. Careful hand-washing helps prevent germs. Teach children to wash their hands often, especially before eating and after using the toilet, spending time in a crowded public place or petting animals. Show them how to vigorously and thoroughly wash and rinse their hands.

Practice good hygiene. Don't share drinks, foods, straws, eating utensils, lip balms or toothbrushes with anyone else. Teach children and teens to avoid sharing these items too.

Stay healthy. Maintain your immune system by getting enough rest, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Cover your mouth. When you need to cough or sneeze, be sure to cover your mouth and nose.

If you're pregnant, take care with food. Reduce your risk of listeriosis by cooking meat, including hot dogs and deli meat, to 165 F (74 C). Avoid cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. Choose cheeses that are clearly labeled as being made with pasteurized milk.

Immunizations can also prevent Meningitis.

Some forms of bacterial meningitis are preventable with the following vaccinations:

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine. Children in the United States routinely receive this vaccine as part of the recommended schedule of vaccines, starting at about 2 months of age. The vaccine is also recommended for some adults, including those who have sickle cell disease or AIDS and those who don't have a spleen.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). This vaccine also is part of the regular immunization schedule for children younger than 2 years in the United States. Additional doses are recommended for children between the ages of 2 and 5 who are at high risk of pneumococcal disease, including children who have chronic heart or lung disease or cancer.

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). Older children and adults who need protection from pneumococcal bacteria may receive this vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the PPSV vaccine for all adults older than 65, for younger adults and children age 2 and up who have weak immune systems or chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes or sickle cell anemia, and for those who don't have a spleen.

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that a single dose be given to children ages 11 to 12, with a booster shot given at age 16. If the vaccine is first given between ages 13 and 15, the booster shot is recommended between ages 16 and 18. If the first shot is given at age 16 or older, no booster is necessary.

This vaccine can also be given to younger children who are at high risk of bacterial meningitis or who have been exposed to someone with the disease. It's approved for use in children as young as 9 months old. It's also used to vaccinate healthy but previously unvaccinated people who have been exposed in outbreaks.

TREATMENT AND CURE

Meningitis is treated with antibiotics but they no specific treatment for viral Meningitis though the viral Meningitis aren't treated and usually resolves on its own and should go away around two weeks or so.

Bacterial Meningitis needs immediate hospitalisation and early diagnosis would prevent brain damage and death.

Fungal Meningitis are treated with antifungal agents.

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