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Meningitis - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

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

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
Sudden high fever Stiff neck Severe headache Nausea Vomiting Seizures Loss of apetite

Popular Health Tips

Effective Ways To Treat Meningitis With Homeopathy!

Dr. Amit Vora 92% (38 ratings)
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: Fever Nausea Pain in muscles, joints or limbs Severe headache Cold hands and feet Shivering Pale or blotchy skin 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 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. 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. Baptisia tinctoria: When obvious mastoid is found to develop and there is tenderness in the area, this remedy can be used. 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. 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.
4 people found this helpful

Neck Pain - Common Reasons Behind It!

Dr. Jagdish Prasad Mehrotra 89% (1444 ratings)
General Physician, Gurgaon
Neck Pain - Common Reasons Behind It!
The neck is one of the most important parts of the human body, as it connects the head with the rest of the body and renders precious mobility to the former. The neck consists of a number of vertebrae that start from the skull and end in the upper torso. There are also cervical discs that can absorb shock and allow motion along with the bones, ligaments and muscles that render support. Injuries, anomalies, inflammation and other causes may lead to neck pain which can cause severe problems if not treated properly and on time. Read on to know more about the causes of neck pain. Muscle Tension and Strain: If you sit at a desk and work for too long without changing your position often enough, then the discomfort will gradually lead to chronic pain and inflammation due to the poor posture. Also, maintaining a poor posture while sitting, standing and walking can all lead to this kind of pain. The muscles of the neck can also suffer strain due to neck jerks during gym sessions of exercising. Also, if you sleep with your neck in a bad position, this can lead to neck and shoulder pain which can last for several days. Injury: The neck is a sensitive and delicate area that we take for granted many times. This part of the body is most susceptible to injuries which can be caused due to falls, car accidents, sports and other such occasions where the muscles as well as the ligaments of the neck may be forced out of their normal range, leaving the body in acute and severe pain. A fracture of the cervical vertebrae or the neck bones can also lead to neck pain which can take several weeks and months to get fully repaired. Sudden jerking of the head can also cause neck pain and neck injury. This motion is known as a whiplash . Heart Attack: Did you know that a heart attack can also give you neck pain? That s right neck pain is one of the symptoms of a heart attack along with excessive sweating, nausea, pain in the arm and the jaw line, as well as shallow breathing and shortness of breath. If you do experience such symptoms along with sudden neck pain, then you will need to call the emergency unit of the hospital or a doctor immediately. Meningitis: This condition refers to the inflammation of the thin tissue surrounding the spinal cord as well as the brain. Headaches and a stiff neck are the most common and persistent symptoms of this condition. This can also turn out to be a fatality if it is not treated on time.
9 people found this helpful

Know More About Meningitis!

Dr. Lata Bhat 89% (157 ratings)
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.
4481 people found this helpful

Migraine - Identifying the Early Signs!

Dr. Sankalp Mohan 91% (64 ratings)
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- Migraine without aura: The majority of migraine sufferers have Migraine without Aura. 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 Onset of headaches >50 years Thunderclap headache - subarachnoid haemorrhage Neurological symptoms or signs Meningism Immunosuppression or malignancy Red eye and haloes around lights - acute angle closure glaucoma Worsening symptoms 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: Blood Tests: These reveal problems with the blood vessel like an infection in the spinal cord and brain. CT scan: Used to diagnose the infections, tumors, brain damage, and bleeding that cause the migraines. MRI: This helps to diagnose the tumors bleeding infections, neurological conditions, and strokes. 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. Your doctor can help find the right medication for you.
1953 people found this helpful

Fever - What, When And Why?

Dr. Jasmeet Singh 88% (10 ratings)
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.
3309 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

My nephew, 4 years old is having CSF rhinorrhoea had frequent meningitis attack need urgent repair of leak, please suggest best neurosurgeons in Delhi or gurgaon who are specialized in pediatric endoscopic surgery.& please also tell the approx cost of the procedure. Thanks.

Dr. Pankaj Arora 89% (14 ratings)
MBBS, MCH Neurosurgery
Neurosurgeon, Hisar
Hi, In Delhi You can consult Dr. V P Singh and in Gurgaon, team of neurosurgeons in Medanta. Approx cost of procedure will be 3 - 4 lakh. Thanks.

Sir im in 20 and I have a headache since 4 days, I can not concentrate on any things like study and I do not know why it happens. Sir please tell me how can I recover from it.

Dr. Anuradha Siddheshwar Nilange 92% (1005 ratings)
Homeopath, Navi Mumbai
Ok you start the homoeopathic medicine natrum Mur 30 liquid solution 10 drops in half cup of water for 2 times a day for 3 days and drink lot of water.

Head pain very badly from childhood I have showed it to many doctors but still it's the same.

Dr. Garima Sharma 92% (391 ratings)
General Physician, Fatehabad
Hi lybrate-user, Ayurveda classifies many headaches according to which dosha (or subtle energy principle) is out of balance in your body-mind: vata, pitta, or kapha. Vata Headache If you have throbbing, pulsating, migrating pain in the back of your head, you have a vata headache. Neck and shoulder tension, back stiffness, and signs of toxicity in the colon (like constipation), and unresolved fear and anxiety can contribute to this type of pain. What to do: At bedtime, boil one teaspoon of powdered haritaki in a cup of water, then drink. Gently massage your neck with warm vacha (calamus) root oil, lie down with your nostrils parallel to the ceiling, and put five drops of lukewarm sesame oil in each nostril for a vata-calming nasya treatment (nasal oil therapy). Pitta Headache If your headache starts in your temples and spreads to the central part of your head, you can trace your problem back to pitta-related imbalances in the stomach and intestines (such as acid indigestion, hyperacidity, or heartburn) and/ or unresolved anger or irritability. Pitta headaches are characterized by shooting, burning, piercing, or penetrating pain, and may be associated with nausea, dizziness, and/or a burning sensation in the eyes. These symptoms are worsened by bright light, hot sun, or high temperatures, or by eating sour fruits, pickles, or spicy food. What to do: Because these headaches are related to imbalances in the stomach and intestines, eat pitta-pacifying foods like cucumbers, cilantro, and dates. Take two tablespoons of aloe vera gel three times a day, and put three drops of plain, warm ghee (clarified butter) in each nostril at bedtime. Then rub warm coconut oil on the soles of your feet and scalp and enjoy a deep, rejuvenating sleep. Kapha Headache If your headache occurs in winter or spring, strikes in the morning or evening, is accompanied by a cough or a runny nose, or gets worse when you bend down, you have a kapha headache. Usually dull and deep-seated, the pain starts in the upper frontal area of the skull, moves down to the forehead, and can creep into the sinuses. Sinus congestion, colds, flus, hay fever, and other allergies cause kapha headaches. What to do: Take one-half teaspoon of sitopaladi powder three times a day with honey. Then put one drop of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam to clear your sinuses. Most headaches can be relieved by using ayurvedic remedies, but if you have a headache that persists for more than a couple of days; if it’s accompanied by a fever or a stiff neck; if you also experience neurological symptoms such as blurred vision, difficulty with coordination or speech, memory loss, numbness, or weakness in your arms or legs; if you wake up at midnight with a headache and need to vomit; if your headache is due to an ear infection, TMJ, meningitis, or spinal arthritis; or if you are having frequent headaches that seem to be getting more severe, please see a doctor. Headaches can also flare up due to ear problems, eye problems, insomnia, food allergies, wrong diet, too much traveling, unhealthy relationships, pent-up emotions, exposure to cold temperatures, neck tension, or working too long (for instance, in front of a computer) with poor posture. Even sleeping on two pillows can give you a headache! Hope this helps. Good Luck.

Well, I oftenly suffer from Headache. Can someone suggest for any medicine with minimum side effects to get rid of the headache instantly. I have a tried few such like flexon. But want to know is there any other medicine better than flexon.

Dr. Poonam Patel Vasani 88% (891 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Anaesthesiology, FIPM, Fellowship in palliative medicine, certificate in interventional pain management, Multidisciplinary pain management course
Pain Management Specialist, Pune
Medication for headache will depend on cause of headache. For frequent episodes of headache, painkillers can aggravate the headache. You need to provide details of your headache pattern so that a diagnosis can be reached. Just taking painkillers is not the solution for frequent headache Headache at young age can be due to 1. Tension headache: Pain is band like constriction at forehead. Simple analgesics like paracetamol will help. 2. Migraine: episodes of severe headache, generally one sided and associated with nausea or vomiting, photophobia / phonophobia. Migraine treatment requires lifestyle modifications and painkillers. 3. Headache can be due to refractive error (vision defect ). Simple vision check and wearing spectacles accordingly can help. 4. Sinusitis: Headache with nasal discharge, fever and throat pain. Consult an ENT specialist in such cases Other causes of headache can be cluster headache, tumour, meningitis, cervical spine diseases, and many more. Follow these lifestyle changes to avoid headache 1. Maintain regular sleep wake cycle, even on holiday's. 2. Don't skip meals. Take regular healthy diet with adequate fluids 3. Do not consume excess caffeine / carbohydrates / alcohol or smoke. 4. Exercise daily (aerobics and cardiovascular) 5. Identify your headache trigger and try to avoid it.
1 person found this helpful

Hello, I have been diagnosed with focal vasogenic edema in left paramedical cerebellar hemisphere. Also non enhancing branching magnetic susceptibility effects within the area. & thrombosis developmental Venous anomaly. Please advise on the condition.

Dr. Sajeev Kumar 86% (22262 ratings)
C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician,
You have Cerebral edema and it can result from brain trauma or from nontraumatic causes such as ischemic stroke, cancer, or brain inflammation due to meningitis or encephalitis. You need check up.

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Acute Sinusitis

Dr. Major Rajesh Kumar Bhardwaj 89% (245 ratings)
ENT Specialist, Delhi
Acute sinusitis may end up causing complete loss of vision. True or false? Take this quiz to find out now.
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