Meningitis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the meninges becomes infected. The meninges are thin membranes that protect the spinal cord and the brain. The condition develops most of the time when the fluid around the meninges is infected. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), meningitis is caused by different pathogens (bacterias, fungi, and viruses). Health experts have buttressed that meningitis can also be caused by drug allergies and chemical irritation.
A survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis. Every year, over 500 people in the US die as a result of meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is the most dangerous type of meningitis. As can be seen in a report by the WHO, bacterial meningitis has a 10% mortality rate. One may die from bacterial meningitis within a couple of hours.
Types of Meningitis
There are seven types of meningitis. Below is an overview of each of them:
- Bacterial: This occurs when a bacterial infection gradually spreads to a singular meninx (meninges). Bacterial meningitis is often severe and may cause death within a couple of hours or days.
- Viral: This is caused by a viral infection. People with weak immune systems are more prone to this type of meningitis.
- Fungal: This occurs when a fungal infection affects the meninges. Fungal meningitis is common in babies and adults with weak immune systems.
- Amebic: This is caused by the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri. You may develop this type of meningitis when exposed to soil or warm water that contains this amoeba.
- Parasitic: This occurs when the brain is infected by a parasite. B. procyonis, G.spinigerum, and A. Cantonese are some of the main parasites that cause this type of meningitis.
- Noninfectious: This occurs when a medication causes inflammation around the brain. Cancer and some chronic illness may also cause this type of meningitis.
Symptoms of Meningitis
Below are the symptoms associated with the various types of meningitis:
- Light sensitivity
- Mood swings
Diagnosis of Meningitis
To determine if you have meningitis, your doctor will check your medical history and carry out a physical exam. During the exam, your doctor will carefully inspect your ear, neck, throat, head, and along the spine for signs of infection. Below are a few other tests your physician may carry out:
- Blood Culture: Here, a sample of your blood will be collected and taken to a laboratory to be cultured. In the lab, the samples will be placed on a special dish to see if microbes grow. The sample may also be studied under a microscope to check for the presence of bacteria.
- CT Scans, X-Rays, and MRI Scans: These are done to check for signs of infection or swelling in the head.
How to Treat Meningitis
After narrowing down the cause of your meningitis, your doctor will prescribe medications that can address it. Below are a few things your doctor may recommend based on what kind of meningitis you have:
- Viral: Viral meningitis usually goes away on its own, so your doctor may not prescribe any drugs. However, if your symptoms are severe, your physician may prescribe an intravenous antiviral medication.
- Fungal: Here, antifungal agents will be administered to stop the infection.
- Bacterial: Your doctor may prescribe intravenous antibiotics to address bacterial meningitis.
- Parasitic: After narrowing down the kind of parasite causing the infection, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to address the infection.
How to Manage Meningitis
Some natural remedies to manage meningitis include:
Garlic: Garlic is loaded with allicin — a powerful antioxidant that can treat the infection. Studies have shown that garlic has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Consuming garlic may help prevent and address meningitis.
Olive Leaves: The extract from olive leaves is rich in antioxidants and has antiviral properties. Olive leaves also contain oleanolic acid which can inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Soybean Milk: Soybean milk is an excellent remedy for meningitis as it can speed the healing process up and boost the immune system’s efficiency.
- What causes meningitis? The following can make one prone to developing meningitis:
- Kidney failure
- Being above 60 years old or below 5 years old
2. When should I consult a doctor? You should seek prompt medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever and chills
- Severe headache
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!