– Causes and symptoms of meningitis
– Prevention against meningitis
Meningitis is characterized by acute inflammation of the lining or protective membrane of the brain and spinal cord. It is often occurs as a result of an infection. Those who are most susceptible to this infection are usually children, teenagers, young adults and the elderly. People who have a weakened immune system due to long-term illnesses and health problems are also susceptible to infections which can cause meningitis.
Meningitis can either be viral meningitis or bacterial meningitis. Although more common, the viral meningitis is less severe than the bacterial meningitis which is less common but can lead to terrible consequences like brain damage or death. Viral meningitis does not often lead to more than a prolonged fever or in some cases seizures.
For about a month now, there has been an outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis in Nigeria which has now killed about 745 people, mostly in the northern part of the country. While the government is doing its best to bring under control, it is a good thing to know the symptoms and possible preventive measures.
Symptoms of Meningitis
The most prevalent symptoms of meningitis are
- Pain and stiffness in the neck; it often more pronounced when a person tries to touch his/her chin to the chest.
- Headache, fever, vomiting, unexplained sleepiness, and sometimes seizures
Some people may have different symptoms particularly those which other health problems, children and the elderly. Some of those symptoms include:
- Rashes, loss of appetite and crankiness in babies
- Difficulty with breathing, coughing or other flu symptoms in young children
- Slight headaches and fever in the elderly or those with other health challenges.
If you or anyone around you are experiencing any of these symptoms, do not assume that it is malaria or any other common illness. Get to the hospital to see a doctor as soon as you can; only there can it be ascertained whether it is meningitis or not. Only the doctor can confirm whether a meningitis case is caused by a virus or bacteria. Remember that bacterial meningitis can be deadly.
The best and most effective way to prevent meningitis is to a get a vaccination against meningitis or any of the diseases which may lead to meningitis. Some of these diseases are chickenpox, measles and mumps.