What is meningitis?
Meningitis is typically caused by a bacteria, viruses, fungus or parasites that lead to an infection. Meningitis can also be caused by injury, illness or substances. When meningitis occurs, the membranes (meninges) become inflamed. Meninges are a collection of membranes the cover the brain and spinal cord. Their primary purpose is to protect the central nervous system. Inflammation of the meninges is caused by an infection of the fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The most common form of meningitis is viral meningitis. The severity of meningitis varies depending on its form. There are 5 categories of meningitis – bacteria, viral, parasitic, fungal and non-infectious meningitis. Knowing the cause of meningitis is important because the ineffectiveness, spread, danger and treatment can differ.
What are the symptoms of meningitis?
The symptoms for all types of meningitis are often the same. It is difficult if not impossible to diagnose the type of meningitis a person may have without having the proper medical procedure. Meningitis symptoms may include:
- High Fever
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
- Altered mental state
It can be tough to detect or might not even occur in neonates and infants. Parents that notice these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately! In children, symptoms such as:
- High temperatures
- High-pitched cry
- Dislike to being held
The onset of seizures, may not be a confirmation of meningitis but it is a sign that there is an immediate need for medical attention.