What is Meningitis ? Symptoms , How is it Transmitted ? Diagnostic Methods , Treatment Methods

Updated: Nov 8


What is Meningitis ?


Meningitis, defined as inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, is a disease that requires immediate medical attention.


Fever, headache and vomiting are the main symptoms of meningitis; however, these symptoms can also be detected in some other diseases. Therefore, in the presence of such symptoms, it is very important to apply to a health institution quickly.


Contents

1.What is Meningitis ?

2.Symptoms

3.How is it Transmitted ?

4.Diagnostic Methods

5.Treatment Methods


Viruses are the most common cause of meningitis. However, bacteria, fungi or parasites can also cause meningitis.


Although meningitis can be seen at any age, the risk is quite high in newborns and children younger than 1 year old. However, the incidence of meningitis is increasing in people over the age of 60.


Combined vaccines in childhood provide protection against many bacteria that cause meningitis. However, it is very important for parents to consider the symptoms of the disease, to start the treatment without losing time and to prevent the disease from causing harm.


Meningitis caused by viruses is the most common type and is less severe than others. Bacterial meningitis, although relatively rare, can have very serious consequences if left untreated.


What is Meningitis ? Symptoms , How is it Transmitted ? Diagnostic Methods , Treatment Methods

The enterovirus family, which is generally associated with the digestive system, can cause meningitis with viruses that cause diseases such as chickenpox, measles, mumps, herpes. In addition to these, bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria mengitidis, Haemophilus influenza type B are among the causes of meningitis.


Childhood and later vaccinations protect against most disease-causing infections.


Symptoms


Some of the symptoms that can be seen in meningitis are:


-Fever of 38 degrees or higher

-Severe headache

-Stiff neck

-Neck stiffness

-Avoid looking at bright light

-Drowsiness and unresponsiveness

-Clouding of consciousness

-Transfer

-Cold hands and feet

-Shake

-Rapid breathing

-Joint and muscle pains

-It is very important to apply to a health institution, especially in complaints such as -High fever, confusion and headache.


The main symptoms in children are fever, neck stiffness, headache, confusion, restlessness, nausea, vomiting and inability to look at the light.


In addition, children younger than 2 years of age should be referred to the hospital, as these symptoms may indicate meningitis.


-The child's body is bent backwards with the navel up and the head back

-Eating less,

-Groaning or high-pitched crying,

-A pale and blotchy appearance

-Excessive tension and swelling of the fontanelle on the head,

-Don't be rigid.


How is it Transmitted ?


The viruses and bacteria that cause meningitis can be transmitted in the following ways:


-Cough

-Sneeze

-Kissing

-Using communal utensils, plates and cutlery.


Viruses or bacteria enter the body through the nose, throat, or ear and reach the brain, causing an infection.


Meningitis can occur at any age, but research shows it's more common in these age groups:


-Children under 1 year

-Teenagers and young adults (16-25 years old)

-People over 60 years old


Since the immune system is not developed in children, meningitis is one of the most dangerous diseases. In addition, people with damaged or removed spleen and people with health problems such as long-term illness or immune system disorders are also at risk.


Because some germs that cause meningitis can spread easily, outbreaks can occur in densely populated areas where people live close together. The possibility of spreading the agent is high in places such as dormitories and barracks. In addition, it is recommended that adults be vaccinated for meningitis again during travels to regions such as Africa and India and during Hajj visits.


In addition, people with low immune systems, such as AIDS or cancer patients, are at higher risk of developing meningitis.


Diagnostic Methods


A physical examination is first performed by the doctor. Neck stiffness, flexibility of the joints and skin rash are checked.


Blood test: Infection markers and the presence of bacteria and viruses are investigated in the blood. Lumbar puncture: In this procedure performed from the waist, cerebrospinal fluid is taken between the lumbar vertebrae with the help of a needle, and the presence of bacteria and viruses is investigated.


Computed tomography: It is checked for any anatomical changes in the brain.


Treatment Methods


When bacterial meningitis is very serious, if the doctor suspects meningitis based on the patient's symptoms, he or she will immediately begin antibiotic treatment in the hospital.


Antibiotics may vary depending on the bacteria detected after the test results. Depending on the person's age and risk factors, the duration of antibiotic treatment varies for 7-21 days.


In addition, fluids lost due to fever, sweating and vomiting are replaced. In some cases, steroid drugs (cortisone therapy) may be given to reduce edema in the brain.


If the tests do not show signs of meningitis, the antibiotic treatment is stopped.


Bacterial meningitis is a very serious condition; He is treated at the hospital and the patient's condition is closely followed. Hospitalization is also required in severe cases of viral meningitis.


Although bacterial meningitis is a very dangerous condition, it can be cured if the disease is diagnosed correctly and treatment is started immediately. If treatment is not started immediately, hearing loss, permanent seizures, mental disorders or even paralysis may occur.


Viral Meningitis Treatment


If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs. Plenty of rest is important. In some cases, it may be appropriate to continue the treatment in the hospital.


When is the Meningitis Vaccine Given ?


It is possible to be protected from bacteria called hemophilus influenzae and pneumococcus, which are important meningitis agents, especially in children, with vaccines.


As childhood vaccines, pneumonia (pneumococcal) vaccine administered at 2, 4 and 6 months and repeated after 1 year of age, and Haemophilus influenza vaccine, which is included in the five mixed vaccine administered at 2, 4, 6 months and repeated at 18 months, contains two important Infants are protected against meningitis.


In addition, with the advice of your doctor, vaccination can be done especially in places such as dormitories, kindergartens, military, where there is a high risk of transmission, during travels to the African continent and India, and during pilgrimage.

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