Meningitis is a medical ailment that can cause serious complications if it is not treated properly. Kansas City adults and youth are potential victims of meningitis. Understanding the serious nature of the illness and the symptoms can help protect you and your loved ones from this serious condition.
Meningitis infects the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and the brain. Meningitis comes in two forms: viral or bacterial. Bacterial meningitis is more serious than in viral meningitis, and can lead to serious brain damage and death. Unfortunately, meningitis is often diagnosed wrongly as the flu, a much less serious condition. Early and proper diagnoses are necessary to help public health officials take necessary measures to help prevent the spread of the illness.
- Chills and fever, often high
- Stiff neck
- Terrible headache
- Sensitivity to light
- Irritability, confusion
- Seizures, possible coma
Infants and small children may also exhibit incessant crying, whimpering, and lethargy. High pitched cries are a hallmark of meningitis. Babies may also seem inconsolable when held, exhibit a blotchy appearance to the skin, vomit or show a lack or an appetite. Parents should also watch for blank stares and visible discomfort in the neck or the back.
Intravenous antibiotics are necessary for treating acute bacterial meningitis. Specified treatments for other symptoms like brain swelling, convulsions, dehydration and secondary infections may be necessary. For this reason, adequate testing must be performed. Antibiotics are not effective for treating viral meningitis, which is less serious.
Unfortunately, many doctors fail to order the right tests for properly diagnosing meningitis. Some fail to take a comprehensive patient history, missing markers that might lead to the conclusion that meningitis is a possibility. Further, sometimes tests are interpreted incorrectly.
Early diagnosis can help contain the spread of this serious disease, especially in hotbed environments like college campuses and military barracks.
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