For years people have wondered exactly what bacterial meningitis is.
Most people know that there is a neurological aspect to this condition, but not the specifics associated with it.
This is a membrane inflammation surrounding both the brain and spinal cord. Swelling is one of the symptoms regularly related to inflammation.
This specific swelling can trigger a variety of symptoms. One of the next typical questions is what causes bacterial meningitis?
In the United States, the majority of bacterial meningitis cases by viral infection. There are also other fungal and bacterial infections that cause this condition. Not every case of meningitis is the same nor are its symptoms.
Some people will see their condition improve without specific treatment approaches. Then there are those individuals that have life-threatening experiences with this bacterial condition.
Experts say that early treatment plays a role in most patients’ full recovery. Those experiencing related symptoms should visit a physician for proper diagnosis.
Family members should also be aware of what the signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis are. Some people who develop this condition are unaware of their symptoms. They may not even notice behavioral changes that have been connected with this illness.
Your physician will be able to not only associate symptoms but to provide a diagnosis.
Bacterial meningitis can affect people of all age groups, while children are particularly vulnerable. The most popular cause of this condition is viral infections. Bacterial infections and fungal infections are also included as causes.
Bacterial infections often result in death. This is why a proper diagnosis is instrumental to the treatment of the condition.
There are a variety of bacteria strains that cause meningitis. Here are some of the strains in this category:
These strains affect certain susceptible groups more than others. Vaccines may be available depending on the type of infection. Those who develop this condition prior to being vaccinated will experience symptoms in most cases.
Types of Meningitis
The stain of infection relates directly to the type of meningitis one develops. Bacterial meningitis is a type that is known to cause death in its victims.
In some of these cases, the meninges are affected. Patients may experience sinus or ear infections. Individuals who develop viral meningitis usually experience milder symptoms.
This type often clears up without major problems. Conditions, such as, West Nile Virus, mumps and HIV could cause viral meningitis. Fungal meningitis and chronic meningitis are two other types that people develop.
The fungal form of this condition is not contagious to others, which is a benefit. This impacts the illness and treatment.
Facts and Stats
According to the National Meningitis Association, between 600 and 1000 people contract this infection each year in the United States.
Among these individuals, 10-15%, die from this condition. There are various affects related to these infections overall. The type of meningitis will determine the symptoms and possible long-term effects.
Of those who survive these infections, 1 out of 5 suffer from permanent disabilities. Brain damage is just one of the examples of these. These also result in the need for extended care and treatment for symptoms that are not resolved during recovery.
How Does It Spread?
You may wonder how does bacterial meningitis spread. The type of strain causing the infection should be considered here. Not all forms of these infections are contagious.
Physicians will apply proper safety instructions to patients with this concern. Some types of bacterial meningitis are contagious. This is spread through two specific means.
Throat secretions can spread this infection, along with respiratory secretions. Participating in activities, such as, sneezing, coughing and kissing makes this possible.
Those who have close contact with victims of these forms of meningitis are susceptible. Once the condition is diagnosed, it is easier to prevent it from spreading to others.
The causes of this type of infection are directly related to bacterial meningitis symptoms in adults.
There are risk factors, such as, age and pregnancy that apply to these infections. Complications can arise even after treatment has taken place. Some of these include: hearing loss, seizures, kidney failure and brain damage.
The human effects of this type of infection will vary depending on your particular case. The initial symptoms that a patient experiences can affect diagnosis. A stiff neck, high fever and headaches are included in this category. Testing makes this process easier for physicians to determine your condition.
If diagnosis and treatment are delayed permanent damage can result.
Vaccines are available to prevent this infection in infants, teens and young adults. They prevent pneumococcus and meningococcus. The most severe cases of this infection can be treated effectively. Corticosteroids and antibiotics are regularly used for the treatment of this condition.
This is an approach for bacterial meningitis. Sometimes the sinuses require draining procedures during treatment.
Antibiotics are not effective in treating viral meningitis.
Over-the-counter medications and adequate fluids work with this infection type. Chronic meningitis is best treated by focusing on its cause, which can vary. The antifungal medications work to treat fungal versions of this infection.
How to Prevent Bacterial Meningitis
Pediatricians provide parents with vaccine options to protect their children from meningitis. There are four different vaccine types that target bacterial meningitis.
These protect children and adults in various age groups from these infections. This is a helpful way to prevent this condition from spreading to others because of its contagious nature. Scheduling vaccines is not difficult and can be completed quickly.
Intervention as it relates to these infections is applied through proper diagnosis and treatment. Addressing symptoms early will allow doctors to help infected patients.
When recovery is complete, others benefit who will come into contact with infected victims. It is important to follow your physician’s instructions. This includes taking medications and thorough treatment techniques. Each person is going to experience a different recovery time.
When people learn what is bacterial meningitis, they have a frame of reference for detecting symptoms.
This is helpful for family members and friends. Parents especially should note suspicious symptoms children exhibit. It is also important to know, how contagious is bacterial meningitis. This is an avenue for protecting yourself and those around you.
Experienced physicians know the options of treatment for bacterial meningitis.
They are able to tailor specific approaches to each individual patient. Since the causes of the condition may vary, treatment regime options will differ, as well. You should consult your physician with any questions related to this condition and its symptoms. A quick diagnosis is best for the recovery process.