Meningitis refers to the inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Most cases of meningitis are infectious in nature and can be caused by virus, bacteria, parasites or fungi. In rare cases is meningitis due to other non-infectious causes; these could be relatable to drug allergies, chemical reactions or even some forms of cancers or inflammatory diseases like sarcodiosis.
The good news is that meningitis has a low prevalence rate in India as compared to other countries. There are less than one million cases of meningitis occurring per year in India, which is a country of over billion people. Meningitis is usually spread by infectious airborne droplets and lab tests or scans needs to be done for a proper diagnosis. Majority of cases of meningitis are treatable, but the key to full recovery depends on how early the patient is brought in to the hospital.
In most cases, the disease can resolve within a few days or weeks, depending on the cause, health and age of patient. However it must be mentioned here that meningitis can kill within a short time span, so treatment shouldn’t be delayed. Delays can also result in permanent brain damage, septicaemia and death. Finding the cause of meningitis early and timely commencement of treatment are key to recovery from meningitis.
The swelling caused by meningitis can result in the hallmark symptoms of high fevers, headaches and a stiff neck towards the later stages. Other symptoms seen routinely with meningitis cases include:
- Severe headaches that are different from the normal
- Confusion, disorientation and irritability
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Drowsiness, sluggishness and difficulty in waking up
- Cold hands and feet
- Headache with nausea and vomiting
- No thirst and appetite
- Sensitivity to bright lights
- Severe muscle, limb or joint pains
- Skin rashes or spots on any part of the body
- Pale, blotchy skin
- A stiff neck (less commonly seen in small children)
- Severe symptoms may include seizure and coma
In newborns and infants, additional symptoms include swelling in the fontanel on top of the baby’s head, constant crying, poor feeding and stiffness in the child’s body and neck.
The early symptoms of meningitis are often confused with flu and constant vigilance is required to act timely and possibly save a life. The Sita Bhateja Specialty Hospital in Bangalore has a formidable team of highly experienced neurologists and neurosurgeons who are experts in treating meningitis and its possible neurological complications. Find out more about them here: https://www.sbshospital.com/Leave a reply