Dangerous meningitis: how not to miss the disease
Meningitis is one of the most dangerous diseases. Untreated meningitis (inflammatory process in the meninges) leads to disability and even death. Germs, viruses, fungi can cause inflammation in the membranes of both the brain and spinal cord. The most commonly diagnosed are bacterial and viral meningitis. Children are more susceptible to this infectious disease, since their immune systems are weaker than in adults: the last case of meningitis, a 5-year-old baby, which was never saved, was diagnosed last month in Kiev.
Why is the topic of the incidence and prevention of meningitis relevant
Meningitis is dangerous because its first symptoms resemble flu. Often, such signs do not attach much importance and begin self-medication. What aggravates the condition, seeking medical help when the disease is neglected and it is not always possible to save the patient. According to the General Directorate of State Consumer Food Consumer Services in Kiev, 5-7 people die from meningitis in the capital alone every year. As the media reported the parents of the boy who died of meningitis, the family had previously been on vacation and was traveling. During the summer holidays, the risk of contracting meningitis is no less than during the cold season. Let’s take a look at why.
Causes of meningitis
According to doctors, the overwhelming number of cases of meningitis is caused by 3 types of bacteria: meningococcus, pneumococcus and hemophilic bacilli. The disease does not always develop due to infection with these microorganisms: these bacteria can initially live in the body of a healthy person without causing any health problems. But when exposed to certain factors, for example, the weakening of the body’s defenses, injuries, etc. bacteria invade the lining of the brain and cause the development of meningitis.
For example, meningitis may develop as a complication after an illness, on the background of an infectious-inflammatory process of the ears or nose. Therefore, with the same bathing in reservoirs, you can earn otitis (ear inflammation), plus acclimatization in a southern country, which weakens the immune system – here are the summer factors contributing to the incidence of meningitis. With head or back injuries, when the brain or spinal cord is affected, the risk of bacteria entering the meninges also increases. In addition to bacteria, viruses, fungal infections, parasites, and neoplasms can cause inflammation in the membranes of the brain.
How to suspect meningitis: symptoms of the disease
Regardless of the form of the disease, the first signs of meningitis appear as symptoms of any infection:
sudden sharp weakness
body temperature rise up to 39 ° C
increased pulse rate, respiratory rhythm disturbance, “aches” in the whole body.
Then there is the most characteristic symptom of meningitis – a sharp headache, which gradually increases, giving in the back, and sometimes – in the arms and legs. Symptoms can differ depending on the type of the disease: a runny nose appears in pneumococcal infections and pneumonia can begin, a rash appears in meningococcal infections, enteroviral meningitis may manifest as disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Doctors combine a number of symptoms of meningitis in meningeal syndrome, which helps diagnose any type of disease. The signs of meningeal syndrome include:
human sensitivity to light and touch – hyperesthesia
increased muscle tone of the neck, in which the patient cannot bring his head to the chest (stiff neck)
What to do if you are suspected of having meningitis and how to avoid the disease
If these symptoms appear, immediately call an ambulance or go to a health facility. Meningitis develops with lightning speed and, even if it is possible to save a person, it can lead to disability. As a preventive measure for meningitis, one should strictly observe personal hygiene, timely treat infectious diseases, especially of colds, prevent the disease from becoming chronic, strengthen the immune system, and undergo preventive medical check-ups in a timely manner. Vaccination, which is valid for up to 3 years, will help prevent some forms of meningitis.