Do you have enough information about meningitis, which can be seen in childhood and causes serious damage?
In this article, we explained what meningitis is, how it is treated, what happens in the rest of the disease!
What is meningitis?
Meningitis is inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by a virus, parasite or bacteria. When the inflammation begins, severe pain occurs in the body. If the symptoms are not noticed and treated early, they can leave permanent damage and even cause death.
Meningitis is a disease that can be seen in everyone, but it mostly affects newborn babies and children under 5 years old.
What causes meningitis? What are the types of meningitis?
As we mentioned above, meningitis disease; Caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites.
Viral meningitis: It is a type of meningitis that viruses that cause diseases such as chickenpox , shingles, mumps , HIV are affected. This type of meningitis is milder and easier to treat than others.
Bacterial meningitis: A type of meningitis caused by bacteria such as meningococci and pneumococci. These can create much more dangerous situations. The most common cause of meningitis in young children is bacterial infections. It also causes diseases such as middle ear infection , sinusitis and pneumonia. It usually originates in the upper respiratory tract and travels from there to the brain.
“ Is meningitis contagious? Let’s answer the question. Viral and bacterial meningitis can be passed from person to person through coughing, droplets and contact.
Pneumococcus can occur at any age, but is more common over the age of 45. It is also less contagious.
In order to prevent this type of meningitis, vaccination is done in childhood.
Tuberculous meningitis: It is one of the rare types of meningitis, but it is very dangerous. Symptoms do not appear immediately, and diagnosis is more difficult. It is usually detected by the spinal fluid of the forehead from the waist.
Listeria, which is transmitted to the body through delicatessen products, is also one of the causes of meningitis.
When is the meningitis vaccine given?
Vaccination is the method that is the most definitive solution among the ways to prevent meningitis. The meningococcal vaccine provides up to 90% protection against the disease. Regardless of the recent news about vaccinations, we recommend that you do not delay your baby’s vaccinations. Because in infants, meningitis can even be lethal within 24 hours.
There are two different types of the meningitis vaccine.
Menactra: It is applied to babies between 9-23 months. Two doses are given 3 months apart. The amount of dose is determined by your doctor.
Nimenrix: It is given as a single dose to children over 12 months.
In addition, the pneumococcal vaccine, which prevents pneumonia, is also effective on meningitis.
What are the symptoms of meningitis?
- Severe headache,
- nuchal rigidity,
- Inability to tilt the head forward
- Fever up to 39 degrees
- Intolerance to light,
- vomiting ,
- Visual and hearing disorders,
- Red or purple spots on the body that do not fade with finger pressure,
- Sleeping state,
- Blurring of consciousness is one of the most well-known symptoms of meningitis.
Babies also have a symptom such that the fontanelle looks more convex. Babies with meningitis may also have crying attacks that do not stop because of their severe pain.
How is meningitis diagnosed?
When the child is shown to a specialist with the above symptoms, a general physical examination is done first. Although the symptoms show meningitis, a procedure known as lumbar puncture is applied in order to make a definitive diagnosis. In this procedure, cerebrospinal fluid is taken by injection from the waist and examined. If meningitis is present, it is detected in this fluid.
If the doctor needs it, a brain tomography can also be taken. After this process, the type of meningitis is determined and hospitalization is made for treatment.
How is meningitis treated?
Medication is usually started after meningitis is diagnosed. The majority of this treatment consists of antibiotics that provide relief from the inflammation. In this process, the child should be hospitalized and under observation until the disease regresses. Long-term rest is also part of the treatment.
If it is viral meningitis, antibiotic treatment may not be applied. In this type of meningitis, painkillers and antipyretic drugs and copious fluid supplementation are applied.
Headache, which is one of the symptoms of meningitis, can continue for a long time, even after discharge. In this case, only painkillers recommended by the doctor should be used.
In summary, meningitis carries a serious life-threatening risk for children. For this reason, the meningitis vaccine should not be missed and the hygiene of children should be paid attention. It is also known that breast milk has a preventive feature against meningitis.