Meningitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the meninges, which are the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord caused by an infectious agent.
Although anyone can get meningitis, it is most common in children and immunosuppressed people.
There are two major groups of meningitis depending on the agent that causes the infection:
Viral meningitis: 80 percent or more of its causes are benign, and are usually due to viruses in the enterovirus group. It is cured without sequelae in almost all cases. They usually occur in small outbreaks or epidemics in the summer and fall, and are transmitted by feces and saliva.
Bacterial meningitis: 15 percent to 20 percent per cycle can be severe, causing sequelae such as deafness and, in some cases, even death. The most frequent agents, which are transmitted by air and contact (cough, sneezing, kissing), are:
Haemophilus influenzae type B. It can produce meningitis in children under five years of age. When the human organism develops, it “learns” to defend itself from it. An effective vaccine is available.
Neisseria meningitidis or meningococcus. It affects people of all ages, but mainly adolescents and young children. In Spain the most frequent serotypes are B and C.
Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus. It is more frequent in children under two years old, although it is more normal that it produces other types of diseases such as otitis, sinusitis and pneumonia. For a few years there has been a vaccine that protects against various types of pneumococci. This preparation is currently not included in any Spanish vaccination calendar. These bacteria are normal inhabitants of the throat and nose of many people, and only in some causes the disease. Other types of meningitis are those caused by poisonings, fungi, medications and other illnesses, but they are less frequent.
Cases of meningitis can cause different symptoms, but the most common are:
- High fever.
- Severe headache and stiffness of the nape of the neck (impossibility of completely bending the neck forward).
In more isolated cases, the following conditions may occur:
- Exaggerated drowsiness.
- Seizures, present in 20 to 30 percent of meningitis cases.
- Mental confusion
- Abnormal intolerance to light or sounds.
- Skin rash and even small hemorrhages under the skin (petechiae).
- When it occurs in children, it is common for the little one to be apathetic, not to play, not to smile and not to talk.
However, in babies the manifestations of the disease are less evident and one should begin to suspect a case of meningitis if there is rejection of the feeding, it has a bad aspect, its breathing is complaining and it presents decay or exaggerated irritability.
Anque is a disease that requires prompt medical attention, the child may be given remedies to relieve some of the symptoms.
Meningitis Remedy #1: Apply onion slices to the soles of your feet or put them in a sock and keep them glued to your feet. This remedy helps to control the fever that appears as a symptom of this enermity…
Meningitis Remedy #2: Boil 1 tablespoon of sage in a cup of water for 5 minutes. Strain and let cool. Give the child (over 2 years old) every 2 hours.
Meningitis Remedy #3: Add 50 g of barley water to 2 liters of water and boil until the water is halfway through. Strain and add a spoonful of honey and the juice of one lemon. Give to children over 5 years old.
If this disease is suspected, it is necessary to go to a medical center in order to determine if the child really suffers from meningitis and, if so, which type. The usual tests are as follows:
Analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid. It is usually transparent and absent of cells. In addition to the cell count, the protein and glucose levels are tested.
Cerebrospinal fluid culture. It is crucial to determine the causative agent. Sometimes blood culture can determine the agent.
Blood tests. It is necessary to guide the cause and objectify the degree of infection, although it is not definitive.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or computerized tomography Ensure that the inflammation is not due to another cause (such as a tumor).
Rest The child should rest as soon as meningitis is detected and aspirin should not be given without consulting the doctor.