Meningococcal meningitis is a kind of serious bacterial infection that affects the protective lining of the brain and the spinal cord. This protective layer is known as meninges, and the infection spreads through mucus or saliva. This indicates that living in close communal spaces or sharing eating bowls and cups can pave the way for meningitis infection.
The most commonly found and recognizable symptoms for meningitis include a headache, stiffness in the neck, sudden high fever and chills and purple blemishes on the body, which resemble bruises. These symptoms come all of a sudden within seven days of the bacteria attack.
There are symptoms for meningitis that are less common, and they include confusion, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness and fatigue, high temperature, paleness and mottled skin, the coldness of hands and feet, coma, seizure, and rash occurring at a later stage of meningitis.
Symptoms of meningitis
The prominent among the symptoms of meningitis is the rashes that appear all over the body which looks like small and red pinpricks in the first stage. Then it slowly spreads all over the body and turns into reddish-purple blotches. The best way to know whether it is a sign of meningitis is to press a glass against the affected area of the skin. If the rashes show no evidence of fading, then it is a sign of septicemia or blood poisoning caused by meningitis. In such cases, it is important to get medical treatment right away. It is important to mention here that the rash could be hard to detect in people with a dark complexion. You should check for spots in paler areas such as the inner part of the hand, palm, tummy, feet soles, eyelids and the roof of the mouth.
Meningitis in children
It is important to note that the symptoms of meningitis in children are different from that of adults. For instance, children do not display stiffness of neck as seen in adults. In kids, the symptoms develop at a gradual note. The most common symptoms for meningitis in children include high-pitched crying, irritability, difficulty with feeding, projectile vomiting, purple or red rashes in the body, partial seizures, have a bulging spot in the head, unresponsiveness and an overall stiffness in the body.
Types of meningitis
There are two major types of meningitis which include bacterial meningitis and viral meningitis. This is because it can be caused either by bacterial or viral infections. The virus responsible for causing meningitis includes influenza, measles, HIV, herpes, mumps, West Nile and Coltivirus. It causes symptoms such as irritability, lethargy, sleepiness, a decrease in appetite, fever, and sensitivity to light and stiff neck. But the good news is that meningitis triggered by viruses tends to subside on its own without any clinical intervention. On the other hand, bacteria such as Neisseria meningitides, Streptococcus pneumonia, and Haemophilus influenza are largely responsible for causing meningitis. The symptoms of meningitis caused by bacteria develop suddenly, and it is crucial to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. There is no way by which you can know whether the meningitis is caused by virus or bacteria and so it is wise to go to a doctor who would perform certain tests to be sure of the cause of meningitis.
What are the complications of meningitis?
If meningitis is left without treatment, it can lead to severe complications which become hard to treat. In most cases, these complications include loss of hearing, seizure, brain swelling, brain damage, kidney failure, fluid buildup in the brain known as hydrocephalus and inflammation of the heart when the infection reaches this organ. If there is a delay in treatment, meningitis can also cause death.
The complications of meningitis can be severe and lead to fatal consequences. The longer an adult or a child has this disease without proper treatment, the greater would be the risk of seizures along with permanent neurological damage which may also include complete loss of hearing, difficulty in memorizing, learning issues, irreparable damage in the brain, gait problems, kidney failure, and shock. With the right treatment at the right time, patients with advanced stages of meningitis can be recovered.
A proper antibiotic medication is the primary treatment option for meningitis, and your doctor would evaluate your conditions to understand which medicines work best for you. In most cases, the affected individual needs to be admitted to the hospital for observation as well as treatment. However, if the condition is severe, surgery may also be required for mitigating the complications of meningitis.It is extremely crucial to go to the doctor as soon as you observe the symptoms of meningitis. This is because the illness is fatally dangerous and therefore, you must call your doctor even when the symptoms are under control. It is important to keep in mind that even if you are vaccinated, the vaccine cannot prevent all types of meningococcal meningitis.