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Overview

Meningitis - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is a condition which is characterized by the inflammation of meninges (membranes) surrounding your spinal cord and brain. This can trigger signs like a stiff neck, fever and headache. Usually meningitis improves without any treatment after a few weeks but in some rare cases it can be life threatening and requires antibiotic treatment.

When should you see a doctor?

It is not necessary to visit a doctor if you have meningitis. It is recommended to visit a healthcare specialist only if some severe signs are associated with meningitis such as:

  • Fever
  • Unrelenting and severe headache.
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck

Types of Meningitis :

Bacterial meningitis:

Meningitis which is caused by bacteria which travels to the brain and spinal cord by entering into the bloodstream causes acute bacterial meningitis. It can even occur when bacteria invades the meninges directly. This can be caused due to certain surgeries, skull fractures, sinus infection or ear infection. Pneumococcus, meningococcus, haemophilus and listeria are the most common bacteria which cause meningitis.

Viral meningitis:

This form of meningitis clears up on its own and is very mild. Viral meningitis is caused by a group of viruses known as enteroviruses. This is more common in the early fall and the late summer. Some viruses like West Nile virus, mumps, HIV and herpes simplex virus can also cause viral meningitis.

Chronic meningitis:

Organisms such as mycobacterium tuberculosis and fungi which invade the fluid surrounding our brain and the membranes cause chronic meningitis. Some symptoms of chronic meningitis include mental cloudiness, vomiting, fever and headaches.

Fungal meningitis:

This is very uncommon and mimics acute bacterial meningitis. It isn’t that contagious. It affects people with immune deficiencies like AIDS. If it is not treated with antifungal medication, it can be life threatening.

Risk factors for meningitis:

  • Skipping vaccinations- You are more prone in developing meningitis if you haven’t taken your meningitis vaccination in childhood.
  • Age- Bacterial meningitis is very common for those below the age of 20, whereas viral meningitis occurs in children below the age of 5.
  • Staying at a community setting- Students who live in boarding schools, military base and dormitories are more susceptible in developing meningitis. Children living in child care facilities are also prone in developing meningitis. This is because the bacterium spreads quicker through large groups.
  • Pregnancy- During pregnancy, the risk of listeriosis increases which makes you more prone to meningitis. The risk of premature delivery, stillbirth and miscarriage also increases the risk of meningitis.
Treatable by medical professional Require medical diagnosis Lab test not required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Non communicable
Symptoms
Sudden high fever Stiff neck Severe headache Nausea Vomiting Seizures Loss of apetite

Popular Health Tips

Effective Ways To Treat Meningitis With Homeopathy!

BHMS, PG Hom London
Homeopath, Mumbai
Effective Ways To Treat Meningitis With Homeopathy!

Meningitis is a serious disease, and shouldn’t be left untreated. It has every possibility of getting fatal if left unattended. It can cause severe damage to the neurological system. The disease is caused due to the inflammation of the meninges or the membrane of the brain or spinal cord. It can also lead to stiffness of the cervical area. If a patient often complains of painfulness, when moving towards the chest from the chin, a medical intervention is needed. Muscle spasms make the neck so stiff that head and trunk cannot be lifted up at the time of passive flexion of the neck.

This disease is highly contagious and can be spread by droplet infection or by sneezing. It is of two type: viral and bacterial. The bacteria’s responsible for meningitis are Haemophilus influenza Neisseria meningitides, and Streptococcus pneumonia. Meningitis develops if these microbes enter a patient’s bloodstream and thereafter reaches the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The CSF has no white blood cells and hence cannot fight the infection. So, the microorganisms multiply rapidly.

Symptoms: The most common symptoms of meningitis are as follows:

  1. Fever
  2. Nausea
  3. Pain in muscles, joints or limbs
  4. Severe headache
  5. Cold hands and feet
  6. Shivering
  7. Pale or blotchy skin
  8. Blue lips

Diagnosis of Meningitis: It is difficult to detect the disease in its initial stages. It can be confused with severe influenza. A lumbar puncture is done and a sample of CSF is collected for diagnosis.

Why seek homoeopathic help for treating meningitis?
Homeopathy has the most effective method of treating meningitis. It is good for prolonged treatment. It doesn’t have side-effects on other organs. The treatment is also cost-effective. The format of the medicine is safe. They are devoid of any toxic substance and are absolutely harmless.

Common Homeopathic remedies for treating meningitis

  1. Aconite: It is given to patients who develop meningitis due to long exposure to sunlight. It is also given to patients who suffer from cerebral congestions from anger and fear is a marked symptom in them.
  2. Apis mellifica: If a patient suffers from nervous agitation, shrill cries and complains of stabbing pains, he or she may be prescribed this remedy. It is best to treat children, who put their hands to their heads and scream. A practitioner also looks for other symptoms like swelling in the face, less urine, and thirstlessness.
  3. Baptisia tinctoria: When obvious mastoid is found to develop and there is tenderness in the area, this remedy can be used.
  4. Belladonna: This is best for treating initial stages. Cerebral irritation is a marked symptom in this case. The child is found crying out and grinding its teeth.
  5. Bryonia: It is best for treating meningitis when there is a chewing motion with the mouth. Other symptoms that have to be looked for are distended abdomen, white tongue, excessive thirst, flushed face, etc.

Things to note: These are only a few remedies. There are plenty of other options in homoeopathy. It is best to see a homoeopathy practitioner for the correct treatment.

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Know More About Meningitis!

Fellowship In Neonatology, MRCPCH(UK), Diploma In Child Health (DCH), MBBS
Pediatrician, Delhi
Know More About Meningitis!

Arguably one of the most fatal diseases that threaten human life, Meningitis has been the cause of a lot of recent deaths. Essentially Meningitis is triggered off by the anomalous inflammation of the protective membranes called meninges in the brain and spinal cord. Spurred by some sort of a bacterial or viral attack, this condition emanates from an infection of the fluids in the cranial chamber. Often such conditions are also stimulated by some external injury, cancerous development or even certain kinds of reaction from a given drug or the other. 

Depending on the precise cause of the disease, Meningitis may be categorized as Bacterial Meningitis, Viral Meningitis or Fungal Meningitis. Other forms of Meningitis include parasitic Meningitis, Amebic Meningitis and Non-Infectious Meningitis. Meningitis could potentially be contagious. Through lengthy and proximal contact like coughing or kissing, if saliva or spit gets exchanged, Meningitis causing germs may spread from one person to the other.

Bacterial Meningitis
Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria Meningitidis are the two of the most rampant Meningitis causing bacteria. They have the potential of causing irreversible damage to several vital organs. However, with substantive progress in medical science, effective and suitable medication has been made available to the larger populace. But, immediate attention is imperative in this case.

Viral Meningitis
Viral Meningitis is relatively milder than the other forms of meningitis. Enteroviruses, arboviruses and herpes virus are some of the most common sources of this kind of Meningitis. People with strong immunity are usually able to overcome this without much ado. Vaccines are available widely in the markets to cure viral meningitis.

Fungal Meningitis
Fungal Meningitis are caused primarily from external influences. Inhaling fungal spores from the environment is one of the most prominent factors that lead to Meningitis. People suffering from fatal diseases like cancer, diabetes or HIV are more susceptible to fungal Meningitis. While these are a few of the primary forms of meningitis, other triggers to this disease occur due to various environmental interventions. These are consequent upon interactions with various disease causing allergens. Cure to meningitis is available in the form of intravenous injections. But timely diagnosis and treatment is essential for a good outcome. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a pediatrician.

4483 people found this helpful

Migraine - Identifying the Early Signs!

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, Fellow In Pain Management, DM - Neurology
Neurologist, Gurgaon
Migraine - Identifying the Early Signs!

Headaches and migraines can vary drastically depending on their duration, specific symptoms and the person they are affecting. The more you know about your specific type of headache or migraine, the better prepared you will be to treat them—and possibly even prevent them. The two types of migraine are- 

  1. Migraine without aura: The majority of migraine sufferers have Migraine without Aura. 
  2. Migraine with aura: Migraine with Aura refers to a range of neurological disturbances that occur before the headache begins, usually lasting about 20-60 minutes.

Symptoms of migraine vary and also depend on the type of migraine. A migraine has four stages: prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome. But it is not necessary that all the migraine sufferers experience all the four stages.

Prodrome: The signs of this begin to appear a day or two days before the headache starts. The signs include depression, constipation, food cravings, irritability, uncontrollable yawning, neck stiffness and hyperactivity.
Migraine Aura: Auras are a range of symptoms of the central nervous system. These might occur much before or during the migraine, but most people get a migraine without an aura. Auras usually begin gradually and increase in intensity. They last for an hour or even longer and are 

  • Visual: Seeing bright spots, various shapes, experiencing vision loss, and flashes of light
  • Sensory: Present in the form of touch sensations like feeling of pins and needles in the arms and legs
  • Motor: Usually related with the movement problems like the limb weakness
  • Verbal: It is related with the speech problems

Headache: In case of a migraine attack one might experience:

  • Pain on both sides or one side of the head
  • Pain is throbbing in nature
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Sensitivity to smells, sound and light
  • Vision is blurred
  • Fainting and lightheadedness

Postdrome: This is the final phase of the migraine. During this phase one might feel fatigued, though some people feel euphoric.

Red flags that the patient may be having underlying serious disorder not migraine

  1. Onset of headaches >50 years 
  2. Thunderclap headache - subarachnoid haemorrhage 
  3. Neurological symptoms or signs 
  4. Meningism 
  5. Immunosuppression or malignancy 
  6. Red eye and haloes around lights - acute angle closure glaucoma 
  7. Worsening symptoms 
  8. Symptoms of temporal arteritis

These patients require CT scan / MRI or CSF examination. Most Migraine patients do not need these tests. 

Diagnosis of Migraine: Usually migraines go undiagnosed and thus are untreated. In case you experience the symptoms regularly then talk to the doctor, who evaluates the symptoms and can start a treatment. You can also be referred to a neurologist who is trained to treat the migraines and other conditions. During the appointment the neurologist usually asks about the family history of headaches and migraines along with your symptoms and medical history.

The doctor might advise for some tests like:

  1. Blood Tests: These reveal problems with the blood vessel like an infection in the spinal cord and brain.
  2. CT scan: Used to diagnose the infections, tumors, brain damage, and bleeding that cause the migraines.
  3. MRI: This helps to diagnose the tumors bleeding infections, neurological conditions, and strokes.
  4. Lumbar Puncture: For analyzing infections and neurological damages. In lumbar puncture a thin needle is inserted between the two vertebrae to remove a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid for analysis.

Treatments

Migraine treatments can help stop symptoms and prevent future attacks.

Many medications have been designed to treat migraines. Some drugs often used to treat other conditions also may help relieve or prevent migraines. Medications used to combat migraines fall into two broad categories:

  • Pain-relieving medications. Also known as acute or abortive treatment, these types of drugs are taken during migraine attacks and are designed to stop symptoms.
  • Preventive medications. These types of drugs are taken regularly, often on a daily basis, to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.

Your treatment strategy depends on the frequency and severity of your headaches, the degree of disability your headaches cause, and your other medical conditions.

Some medications aren't recommended if you're pregnant or breast-feeding. Some medications aren't given to children. Consult a doctor find the right medication for you.

1956 people found this helpful

Fever - What, When And Why?

DNB (General Medicine), MBBS
General Physician, Mohali
Fever - What, When And Why?

Fever is not a disease! It's a known fact that normal human body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C). If temperature goes beyond that, then it's called fever. But one must not worry every time if there is a rise in the temperature. 

Why?
The reason is that immune system is designed to raise temperature as a defence mechanism, if there is any attack by a foreign body (such as bacteria). So body temperature may fluctuate between 97 and 100.4. But there is no need to worry.

When to Consider Checking?
Routine check up is unnecessary. You may consider to check when:

  • You feel the warmth while you touch
  • You feel very tired, dizzy and lose appetite
  • You feel nauseated, see rashes on the body, experience loose motion, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, etc.

Is it Time to Worry? 
Normally, fever is not dangerous. However, if you see the following conditions, then it's time to worry and call a doctor. 

  • If the body temperature is more than 103 degree F 
  • If fever lasts for more than five days
  • If you feel difficulty in breathing
  • If there is severe vomiting or diarrhoea
  • If you feel stiffness in the neck and have headache
  • If you feel excessively sleepy and lethargic
  • If you see redness in skin, rashes or blood in stool.

If the condition worsens, it is time to rush to a hospital. There could be following:

  • Meningitis is life threatening and highly transmissible in case of bacterial infection. A combination of a fever, extreme headache and stiffness in the neck is an indication that you must rush to the emergency department of a hospital near you.
  • Difficulty in breathing or chest pain along with fever should prompt you to call for emergency medical assistance.
  • If someone has fever along with blood in stool, urine or mucus, it's one of the reasons to seek for emergency medical help.
  • If one has fever and is quite disturbed or puzzled unnecessarily, then the person should be taken to the emergency department.
  • A person with low immune responses (such as one who is suffering from cancer or AIDS) needs doctor's help in case of fever development.
  • Hyperthermia: it's a condition of very high fever, i.e., more than 104 degree F. The person seems to be confused and may not respond to verbal stimuli or commands. It's time for medical emergency.

What should You Do?
For mild fever, even home remedies can help. Aspirin shouldn't be the first choice and an absolute no for individuals less than 18 years. Other drugs that people usually tend to consume are ibuprofen or acetaminophen. One should also drink plenty of water. In case of a heat stroke, body needs to be cooled.
Other severe causes such as viral infection should lead you to a doctor. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.

3310 people found this helpful

Headache - 5 Ways to Deal With it!

MBBS, DMCH, DEM
General Physician, Jaipur
Headache - 5 Ways to Deal With it!

Frequent headaches can be uncomfortable at best, and debilitating at worst. While a chronic migraine can come with a throbbing pain on one side of the head, headaches due to tension can cause mild to moderate pain on both sides. Also, daily headaches happen in at least 15 days, Hemicrania Continua is a condition that brings about constant pain, and usually happens on one side of the head. Other causes of headaches include eye problems like myopia, presbiopia, squint, long sitting on computer screen, low sugar, acidity etc. A proper eye checkup, neurologist opinion, diet, meditation for treatment is important. Read on to learn more about dealing with these different kinds of headaches.

1. Medical treatment: Inflammation, infections like meningitis and brain injuries that have been proven to be traumatic should be treated with due medication after a proper consultation with a doctor. In certain cases, headaches can be caused due to brain tumours and they must be treated at once. Also, headaches that come with fever, stiff neck, confusion and constant vomiting must be treated by a doctor immediately.

2. Take an over the counter drug: Taking an over the counter drug for instant pain relief can stop the pain and give temporary or long term relief, depending on the kind of headache you are experiencing. It is advisable to speak with a doctor before taking any kind of drug.

3. Find your triggers: Find and limit your triggers like certain food types as well as stress and certain seasonal changes. Stepping out in the summer with an umbrella and avoiding caffeine or too much of chocolate and cheese can also help in alleviating the pain. Stress is also a major factor that contributes to headaches and should be avoided in order to prevent or stop the pain.

4. Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is a good way to treat headaches instantly. The consumption of water is known to soothe the pain effectively.

5. A soothing break: Find a quiet place with dim lighting to take a break that should ideally last at least half an hour to one hour, or even more. This will help in diminishing and removing the pain. You can also use a cold compress and get yourself a massage.

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Popular Questions & Answers

What are symptoms of meningitis. How can infection get cured what are precautions we have to take to get away meningitis.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
Possible signs and symptoms in anyone older than the age of 2 include: Sudden high fever Stiff neck Severe headache that seems different than normal Headache with nausea or vomiting Confusion or difficulty concentrating Seizures Sleepiness or difficulty waking Sensitivity to light No appetite or thirst Skin rash (sometimes, such as in meningococcal meningitis) Can be cured with antibiotics
1 person found this helpful

I had a stroke of tb meningitis after which i am suffering from diplopia how do i overcome this?

Phaco Development Program, Fellowship in Pediatric Ophthalmology, DNB Ophtalmology, MBBS
Ophthalmologist, Mysore
When you had TB meningitis it is possible that some nerves which control movement of your eyes (Cranial nerves 3/4/6) was involved. So this could lead to some form of misalignment of eyes causing your double vision. Consulat a squint specialist or a neuro-ophthalmologist. With supportive measures it could resolve, if it does not come down even after 6 months then you may need to undergo some surgery on eye muscles to decrease this. For the time being you can use glasses with one eye having ground glass so that double vision can be avoided.

Hello, My question is does Mumps can significantly lead to certain complications like Meningitis? Please advise

MBBS, Diploma in Child Health (DCH)
Pediatrician, Gondiya
It's mentioned in books but rarely seen in day to day practice.But being a viral illness this can cause meningitis.

Is this possible that meningitis can transferred from mother to her child, if yes then what is the precautions to prevent from this disease to child.

DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology), PGDHHM, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Delhi
Meningitis itself is not transferred to the baby however the infection leading to meningitis in mother can affect the baby. Accordingly the cause needs to be treated.