Meningitis refers to the inflammation of meninges, which are the layers that covering the brain and the spinal cord. The inflammation is mostly due to an infection of either bacteria or virus. Symptoms of meningitis that are seen in initial stages include headache, nausea, vomiting, high fever, and rashes that do not disappear or fade away.
Of the two types of meningitis, bacterial meningitis is more dangerous. In most of the cases, viral meningitis is not life threatening and usually subsides within a week even without any treatment. There are no medications for viral meningitis. Meningitis for a very prolonged period may lead to death. Cases of meningitis which does not result in death can lead to brain damage or hearing impairment. Increasing in awareness among people about meningitis and availability of powerful antibiotics has reduced the rate of death cases. A great number of medical professionals are undertaking research in the area of meningitis to decrease the death rate and the extent of damage.
You are at risk for meningitis if you are one among the below group of high risk category.
• Children of age below five years.
• Adults in the age of 15-25 years.
• Individuals who are above the age of 55 years.
• Men are at more risk for meningitis than women.
• If you have a genetic composition that makes you easily susceptible to certain types of bacterial infections.
• If you live in a community that is highly populated in very small area.
• If there are mosquitoes and rodents in your living surrounding. They act as carriers for more severe pathogens.
• If you are not vaccinated with MMR vaccine and vaccine for pneumococcal infections.
• Head injuries or surgeries.
• New born babies are at risk for meningitis if the mother is infected with meningitis causing bacteria or virus.
• Poor health and immune system. If you have life threatening diseases such as HIV which weaken your immune system.
Meningitis being a bacterial or viral infection is highly contagious and spreads through either the nasal secretion or saliva of the infected individuals. Thus, if you wish to avoid being infected avoid using utensils used by the infected people, sharing food and kissing. Other measures that prevent the attack of meningitis are vaccination in children, maintaining good hygiene, cleaning the surfaces with disinfectants, wash your hands thoroughly if soiled.
Apart from the above measures, it is essential that you take care of any bacterial infection at earlier stage. If the bacteria gain their entry into the blood and if they attack the cerebrospinal fluid, then you are at risk for meningitis. To prevent the bacterial infections, it is recommended to maintain a healthy immune system which is capable to combat any infection. This demands that you consume a healthy diet balanced with all essential nutrients.
In the initial stages of meningitis it is recommended to use antibiotics to prevent severe symptoms. Viral meningitis does not respond for antibiotics.
With the above information it is recommended to take appropriate measures to prevent from becoming a victim of meningitis.