Meningitis

A fairly recent issue which has become important and an area of interest where I live is meningitis. Therefore, I have decided to make a post in which I will list the symptoms of meningitis in order to make others more aware of this infection.

Meningitis can affect anyone, but it is more common in younger people, therefore babies, children, teenagers and young adults are more at risk. It is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, also called the meninges (hence the name meningitis). This infection can be bacterial or viral with each effecting the individual differently. Bacterial meningitis is more severe but thankfully less common.

The symptoms to watch out for are:

  • High temperature (38ºC or over)
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Blotchy rash – will not fade when a glass is rolled over it (seek immediate medical attention)
  • Stiff neck
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • A dislike for bright light

What’s the outcome? In serious cases, meningitis can cause septicaemia -life-threatening blood poisoning- and permanent damage to the brain and/or nerves. However, only 1 in 10 cases are fatal and the prognosis is usually good. Viral meningitis often gets better on its own within 7-10 days and bacterial infections that are treated quickly will result in a full recovery. In other cases, whilst the patient may recover they are left with long term problems such as:

  • Hearing loss / vision loss (partial or total)
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Recurrent seizures (epilepsy)
  • Co-ordination, movement and balance problems
  • Loss of limbs – amputation of affected limbs sometimes necessary

So how I can I avoid catching meningitis? The infection is spread through contact and airborne transmission, such as sneezing, coughing and kissing. Meningitis is normally caught from those who carry the virus but are not ill themselves, this makes it hard to know who and when to distance yourself from someone to avoid contracting the disease, therefore vaccinations are the best way to combat meningitis. These vaccinations are typically given to babies with a booster in the teenage years, to immunise themselves from the infection.

 

 

References

Author unavailable, (11/4/18),  Health Shares Meningitis Advice Amid Concerns. Guernsey PressAvailable at: <https://guernseypress.com/news/2018/04/11/health-shares-meningitis-advice-amid-concerns/> Accessed: [29/4/18]

NHS (12/4/16), Meningitis. Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/meningitis/> Accessed: [29/4/18]

 

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