Powered by Max Banner Ads
Differentiating the signs and symptoms of meningitis is critical in the final outcome of a contagious illness that is often mistaken at onset for common influenza. Two infectious forms define this illness as either viral (aseptic), which is usually milder or bacterial (spinal), which has the potential for causing fatalities.
The indications for viral infection are a result of inflammation within the meninges, the thin membranous covering the brain and spinal cord. This illness can effect either sex at any age. The causes include exposure to viruses, including polio or an autoimmune reaction to a recent bout with a variety of viral illnesses, including measles. Occasionally, fungi, such as, yeast is causative. Clusters of this viral infection are often diagnosed in local epidemics.
Most viral cases recover fully without intervention or any need for antibiotics, as viral illness are managed by the body’s immune response. The illness, however, requires the attention of a physician to culture for cause. If the illness is introduced through acquisition of a fungus, the appropriate prescribed course of anti-fungal medication is necessary for cure.
Risks that increase the likelihood of acquiring this viral infection are a recent bout with measles, rubella or seasonal flu, as well as exposure during an outbreak of meningitis. Immunosuppressive drugs prescribed for transplant recipients and cancer patients lower resistance to viral infections and increase the risk for this illness.
Bacterial meningitis, left untreated, carries the potential for consequences that range in severity from hearing loss to permanent neurological damage to death. This form of the illness is more prevalent in babies under 2 years old and adults beyond 50 years of age. A recent respiratory illness with symptomatic infections of the sinuses, ears, throat or lungs paves the path for infection spreading directly to the meninges. Any concussive, cranial injury provides an opening for entry of meningeal bacteria.
Similar to the onset of flu, meningeal symptoms are felt suddenly. Edema in the meninges culminates in swelling, causing the characteristically relentless headache, accompanied with light sensitivity, a rising temperature equal to the severity of the infection, shaking chills followed by perspiring, exhaustion, irritability and confusion, nausea, vomiting and the telltale stiff neck.
Diagnostics are aided by clues that separate milder viral illness from the bacterial illness. Often, bacterial meningeal inflammation is precluded by a recent episode involving a respiratory infection. In addition, exclusive to the bacterial illness is the presence of a distinguishing skin rash medically recognized as papilledema.
Infants who develop a high fever along with abnormal irritability and relentless crying, sluggishness and a change in willingness to feed, are suspect for this illness until medically evaluated. Ominous signals include a bulging soft spot on the top of the baby’s head and stiffness in the body and neck of the infant.
Since the signs and symptoms of meningitis are similar in both forms of the illness, it is imperative that the patient seek medical help without delay. Determination of the specific cause for the infection will ensure that the patient is properly treated for an uncomplicated, full recovery.
Find out the signs and symptoms of Meningitis by visiting this informative website at www.meningitis-angels.org. Here is more information on http://www.meningitis-angels.org.