Meningitis is a disease characterized by an inflammation of the meninges (the tissues that surround the brain and spinal cord). The acute form refers to the quick and sudden onset of meningitis, whereas the chronic form is characterized by persistence of the disease for about a month or more.
Bacterial meningitis is known to be the most common form of the disease, and is a result of bacterial infection in the meninges. The infection may result in the swelling of the tissues around the brain, which may trigger the risk of paralysis or stroke.
What Indicates Bacterial Meningitis?
The incubation period (the period between infection, and the appearance of symptoms) is 2-3 days. At times, the symptoms may show up within a few hours or so. These include fever and headaches, which are common with most other illnesses too. However, the prominent symptom, is a gradual increase in stiffness in the neck, which may limit neck movements, and causes difficulty in lowering the chin. Other symptoms may include confusion, progressing drowsiness, irritability, seizures, and at times, even stroke.
Inactivity, vomiting, and poor feeding, are usually noticed in children with bacterial meningitis. Symptoms like fever and neck stiffness or headaches could be difficult to identify in infants, so other symptoms to look out for are chills, sweating, and sensitivity to light.
Intravenous administration of antibiotics is the first line of treatment for bacterial meningitis. Corticosteroids may be prescribed in order to reduce the swelling or inflammation. Certain drugs will be prescribed in order to reduce the fever, and measures will be taken up to keep the surrounding quiet and calm to prevent the onset of seizures. People suffering from breathing difficulties may be helped with oxygen therapy. As the infection progresses, there is an increased risk of dehydration, and patients will be asked to increase the intake of liquid foods. In certain cases, fluids may be administered intravenously. However, the fluid intake of the patient is monitored carefully, since too much or too less intake may aggravate the condition. Blood tests are performed to monitor the levels of essential chemicals such as sodium and sugar in blood.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.