Signs and Symptoms of Meningitis, Causes, Treatment

 

Can you recognize the signs of meningitis if they appear? Meningitis is a dangerous disease so it is important to be able to learn of its symptoms so medical attention can be given immediately. Check out meningitis rash pictures, one of the signs of meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membrane covering the brain and the spinal cord. There are three types of meningitis – septic, aseptic and tuberculous. The septic form is caused primarily by bacteria such as the Neisseria meningitides, while the aseptic form is caused by a virus or secondary to brain abscess, lymphoma or leukemia. The tuberculous form, meanwhile, is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The initial signs of meningitis are difficult to recognize since they can be confused with the signs of flu. Usually the signs of meningitis develop within hours or days. Bacterial meningitis is more severe and life threatening that may result to brain damage and death, while viral meningitis can be cured within a week without specific treatment.

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Signs and Symptoms of Meningitis

The early signs of meningitis present in both bacterial and viral form are:

 

• Sudden increase in intracranial pressure

• Severe headache

• Fever

• Nuchal rigidity (stiff neck) where it is hard to contact your chin to your chest

• Change in level of consciousness

 

Consult the doctor right away when you see these signs to prevent further progress of the disease.

 

There are common clinical manifestations indicating the presence of meningitis. The following are some of them:

 

Positive kernig’s sign

The patient cannot extend and straighten the leg completely when lying down with the thigh flexed on the abdomen.

 

Positive Brudzinski’s sign

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The patient flexes his knees and hips upon bending of the neck and produces the same movement in the opposite extremity when the other side of lower extremity is flexed.

 

Skin Rashes

Usually the rashes do not disappear when pressed. The  Meningitis rash color may start as pink, red or purple petechial rash. Due to blood poisoning, the rash may appear anywhere on the body.

 

Photophobia

The patient refuses to look at the light because it can hurt his eyes. It is due to the irritation of the region supplied by the trigeminal nerve.

 

Seizures

This is the result of increasing intracranial pressure.

 

In newborns and infants it may be difficult to find out the signs of meningitis such as nuchal rigidity and severe headache. The following manifestations can determine the presence of meningitis in newborns and infants:

 

• Irritability and drowsiness

• Constant crying

• Poor feeding

• Seizure

• Bulging of the fontanels even if not crying

Assessment and Diagnostic Findings of Meningitis

The culprit responsible for the disease can be identified through culture. The gram staining of the cerebrospinal fluid and blood can determine the presence of meningitis.

Treatment for Meningitis, medical management

The following are the steps typically done to manage meningitis.

• Antibiotic therapy for bacterial meningitis

• Osmotic diuretics to lessen the cerebral edema

• Fluid volume expanders to treat shock as well as dehydration

• Diazepam to manage seizures

 

However, for viral meningitis, antibiotic therapy is not effective because it cannot kill the virus. So the treatment of mild cases of viral meningitis includes the following:

 

• Increase oral fluids

• Complete bed rest

• Antipyretics for fever

The signs of meningitis listed above are of great help in determining the presence of the disease as well as preventing complications it causes. Meningitis is deadly so it is crucial to be able to identify its signs and symptoms so that prompt treatment can be given.

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