Meninges are protective membrane that covers the brain and the spinal cord. When this membrane gets inflated, a disease called Meningitis occurs. This inflammation is generally caused by the infected fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
Meningitis can be caused off many reasons majorly bacteria and viruses but it may also be caused by physical injury, cancer or sometimes due to certain drugs as well. We will be discussing the Bacterial meningitis here. Bacterial meningitis is though very rare but there are several germs that cause bacterial meningitis. The causes of Meningitis varies by age group like for newborns, the main cause are due to Escherichia coli, Listeria and Monocytogenes. For younger adults causes are due to Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumonia and for older adults causes are due to Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Listeria monocytogenes.
The symptoms of meningitis are sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck and it often has other symptoms like vomiting, photophobia, nausea, altered mental status. The bacterial meningitis symptoms may occur quickly or after several days, usually they occur in 3-7 days after exposure. Toddlers younger than one month have a greater risk for severe infections than the older ones. Though the major symptoms like fever, headache, and neck stiffness are difficult to notice in infants, but they may look inactive, irritated, vomiting and not having a proper feed. If any of such symptoms seems to be there you should consult the doctor on priority basis.
If there is a suspect of meningitis, the blood sample is to be sent to the laboratory for testing. It is important for the doctor to know the main cause of the disease, so that they could initiate the treatment in the right direction. Doctors will get to know about the particular bacteria present, how fast it may grow and which antibiotic should be given to prevent it, once the tests are conducted.
It can be treated with antibiotics. The effective antibiotic treatment should be started as soon as possible, since this reduces the risk of dying upto 15%.
The most common prevention method for your child is to have complete vaccination schedule. You should avoid smoking, should sleep well, and do not contact sick people, can also help to prevent this disease.
This is not an expensive treatment. It generally varies from $25-$175.