Meningitis: Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis

Meningitis is the inflammation of lining across our brain & spinal cord. It is usually a result of an infection. This infection most often takes place in children, teens & young adults. Older adults & individuals with long-run health issues like weakened immune system are at risk of meningitis as well. It is considered a serious medical ailment in India and is responsible for numerous child deaths, all across the country.

Causes and Symptoms of Meningitis

Types of Meningitis:

  • Viral meningitis – It is common. It generally does not lead to serious illness. In severe situations, it can lead to prolonged fever & seizures
  • Bacterial meningitis – It is not so common but it is very serious. It must be treated immediately for prevention of brain damage & death

Causes of Meningitis:

Viral meningitis is a result of viruses whereas bacterial meningitis is a result of bacteria. Meningitis is also a result of other organisms & some medicines, however, it’s rare.  Meningitis is also contagious. Germs causing the disease could be transmitted from 1 individual to another by coughing & sneezing in close contact.

Symptoms associated with Meningitis:

Most common symptoms occurring in teens & young adults are:-

  • Stiff & painful neck, especially while we try touching our chin to our chest.
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Trouble staying awake
  • Seizure

Children, the other adults & individuals having other medical issues may have a different kind of symptoms:-

  • Babies could be cranky & refuse to eat. They could have rashes. They could cry when they are held
  • Young kids could act like they experience flu. They could have a cough or have problems in breathing
  • Older adults & people with some other medical issues may have only slight headache & fever.

It is important to consult a doctor immediately if someone or their children have such symptoms. The Doctor would update if it is a viral or bacterial meningitis.

Diagnosis of Meningitis:

The doctor could ask about our health, can do an exam & use 1 or more tests. Lumbar puncture is a vital lab test to identify meningitis. It is also known as a spinal tap. A sample fluid is taken off from across our spine and tested to identify if it has organisms which result in the illness. Our tests like blood tests, MRI or a CT Scan could also be advised by a doctor.