Meningitis is a very serious health condition. It is characterized by the inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain. Meningitis primarily results from viral and bacterial infections.
You can read more about the different types of meningitis on the website of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. As you will see, the cause of a patient’s meningitis will determine how a doctor treats the person.
If you suspect that your child may have meningitis, you should ask your pediatrician these questions:
How serious is meningitis?
The severity of meningitis depends on the type of meningitis. In the majority of cases, viral meningitis is less severe than bacterial meningitis. In fact, bacterial meningitis can be deadly.
What are the signs and symptoms of meningitis?
Even though bacterial meningitis tends to be more severe, the signs of viral and bacterial meningitis are essentially the same when in the early stages.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these signs include:
In a baby, the symptoms include persistent crying, high fever, stiffness and a bulging of the fontanel, which is at the front and top of the baby’s head.
How is meningitis treated?
Bacterial meningitis will likely be treated with antibiotics. Viral meningitis cannot be treated with antibiotics. If your child has viral meningitis, treatment might include an anti-inflammatory or over-the-counter pain medication. To reduce swelling in the brain, corticosteroids may be used.
What happens if meningitis is misdiagnosed or left untreated?
Meningitis can have permanent, terrible effects if it is left untreated. It is critical that bacterial meningitis is diagnosed immediately and treated as soon as possible. If the condition is not treated, it can lead to permanent and irreversible brain damage. Meningitis can also cause learning disabilities and hearing loss.
How is meningitis spread (and what can be done to prevent the spread)?
Bacterial meningitis can spread easily when people are in close contact with one another, share bodily fluids or eat contaminated foods. In order to contract viral meningitis, you must be exposed to the virus, which may occur if you are in close contact with a contaminated person.
There are a few things that you can do to prevent the spread of meningitis and avoid contamination. These include:
Know the Signs of Meningitis and Take Action If Your Child Is Infected
As a parent, it is important that you know the signs of meningitis and seek medical care immediately if you believe your child is infected. If a delay in diagnosis or treatment leads to permanent harm, contact a lawyer for help.
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Chicago, Illinois 60602
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