Meningitis is a pathogenic infection that leads to inflammation of the meninges, that is, the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. There are basically two types of meningitis: bacterial and viral. The former is a very serious condition and is very rare, whereas the latter is a relatively mild illness and is very common.
This disease can kill an infected person within 24 hours of infection. It is classified into three types: meningococcal, pneumococcal, and haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). The common symptoms of this disease are:
- Stiff neck
The rash looks like a small cluster of tiny pin pricks initially, that develops into areas of skin damage. If you press the purple colored rash, it won't turn white. If you observe such a rash on your body, visit a doctor immediately as it is a sign of septicemia, that is, blood poisoning.
This is a very rare condition, and therefore it is easy to overlook the signs and symptoms. It also appears like cold and flu, and therefore, may remain undetected. This disease is very dangerous and causes many serious complications in children, and even death. Once a person is fully recovered from bacterial meningitis, he/she cannot transmit the disease; however he/she may experience general tiredness, depression, recurring headaches, brain damage, learning disabilities, epilepsy, deafness, etc. The disease can be prevented by immunization.
This disease is caused by enteroviruses that spread by fecal-oral route. Most of the cases of this disease in America are caused by echovirus and coxsackievirus. The symptoms appears immediately while the disease progresses gradually. Babies may refuse to eat, feel more sleepy and become fussy. Infants younger than 18 months may develop a rigid or tender back. They may develop rashes all over the body or only on the arms and legs. The rash is flat, red in color and may be raised in some places. A viral rash can be differentiated from a bacterial rash as the latter exhibits rashes, that are small, pinpoint, bright red spots that cover the whole body.
Many times, viral meningitis is accompanied with a sore throat and conjunctivitis. Babies may have a tense or bulging soft spot on the head and may have a high-pitched or moaning sound. They may have a lower than normal body temperature.
Children and adults both recover within 10 to 14 days and may experience muscle weakness, tiredness, headache, muscle spasms, and inability to concentrate. These aftereffects are temporary and may disappear in a few weeks to few months. There is no treatment for viral meningitis, and it is taken care of by the immune system itself.
Meningitis is caused by bacteria and viruses that infect the skin, urinary tract, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract. Once they find their way into the bloodstream, they can infect the cerebrospinal fluid and infect the meninges. It usually spreads by sharing food, drinking glasses, eating utensils, or tissues and towels. Therefore, you should get your kids vaccinated with meningococcal vaccine and teach them to practice personal hygiene.
It is very important to look out for meningitis skin rash, as about 10% of infected children do not survive this disease. The red flag should be drawn out with stiff neck, headaches, and sleepiness. The minute you observe a rash anywhere on the body, vomiting, lethargy, headache, confusion or irritability, take the patient to the doctor. Prompt medical help can save a life.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.