Here are a few important tips you can use on how to treat bacterial meningitis.
In any disease, the root causes should first be discussed for successful treatment to be possible. After understanding the nature of a certain disease, only then will you be able to make intelligent decisions on what specific plans of action to take for treatment. Read on and find out all about Bacterial Meningitis explained in the simplest and most understandable terms possible.
1) Bacterial Meningitis Vs Viral Meningitis—What’s the Diff?
Meningitis is a life-threatening disease that takes place when the fluid in the spinal cord, as well as the fluid surrounding the brain, get seriously infected. Meningitis can either be bacterial or viral in origin.
Viral Meningitis, or Aseptic Meningitis, is generally mild and self-limiting. Within one or two weeks, it is most likely to go away on its own without necessary medical intervention.
Bacterial Meningitis, on the other hand, is something worth the doctor’s attention and intervention. This fatally threatening disease can result in severe complications that may ultimately lead to brain damage or even death.
2) Bacterial Meningitis — Getting at the Root Cause
Meningitis-causing bacteria can naturally be present and living innocuously in your mouth and throat. However, although with the rarest of possibilities, these apparently harmless microorganisms can invade your immune system. Once they pass through the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, it’s the beginning of a very quick propagation. This results in swelling and inflammation of the meninges (the thin membranes covering the brain and spinal cord).
Three specific kinds of bacteria are the main culprits in Bacterial Meningitis. They are Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Neisseria meningitidis, and Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Originally, Hib was the most well-known cause of bacterial meningit is. However, new vaccination programs to prevent the deadly HiB disease were put into action during the 1990s, effectively removing HiB from its top post as the leading culprit to bacterial meningitis. Replacing it are the other two meningitis-causing bacteria.
Neisseria meningitides causes Meningococcal Meningitis.
Streptococcus pneumonia causes Pneumococcal Meningitis.
It is very crucial to pinpoint which of these three culprits is responsible for a specific case of bacterial meningitis; with early intervention and accurate diagnosis, bacterial meningitis can be treated early on with antibiotics, and this infectious disease can be controlled and kept from spreading.
3) How Infectious Is Infectious?
The obviously bad news is that bacterial meningitis is contagious. You can get infected by nasal discharge or droplets coming from the throat of the host. The good news is that not any of the Meningitis-causing bacteria are really THAT infectious. Bacterial Meningitis is not an airborne disease. And you cannot be infected with it by casual contact alone or simply by being in the same room with a patient.
4) Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For
Bacterial Meningitis in the newly born and infants is indicated by the same characteristic fever, headache and stiffness in the neck. On the other hand, as unfortunate as it can truly be, detection of the two latter symptoms can be a hard one.
Babies are, after all, helpless little beings that cannot fully express themselves except through crying. However, tell-tale signs of this sneaky disease in babies include lassitude, irritability, nausea and vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Patients that are two years of age and above have been reported to have felt these typical symptoms prior to diagnosis:
The characteristic high fever, headache and stiff neck associated with the early onset of the disease; they may build up within a couple of hours to 1-2 days.
Aside from the primary symptoms, patients may or may not experience nausea and vomiting, photophobia or light sensitivity, incoherence, and drowsiness and exhaustion.
Seizures are a significant sign of progression of the devious disease. All age groups are subject to have them.
If you spot a suspicious symptom or two in your loved ones, do consult with your doctor immediately. Otherwise, they may end up suffering from physically and mentally debilitating complications such as hearing impairment, mental retardation and paralysis. On the extreme, the fatal disease may eventually cause brain damage, coma or even death.
5) Can Bacterial Meningitis Be Treated?
Yes, it can. As long as there is early medical intervention, the chances of having successful treatment are high. Here are a few crucial tips on treating Bacterial Meningitis.
Especially in children and infants, immediate hospitalization is highly recommended to the point of requirement. However, while your child is still at home, take note of the following precautionary measures:
Keep a soft biting cloth at hand. Seizures and convulsions are expected and tongue biting is inevitable.
Let your child lie on his side and not on his back, to avoid aspiration from his own vomit.
Anti-pyretic medication may be given, so long as allowed by the attending doctor. If your child is unconscious, cool down the fever by a soothing sponge bath.
Once at the hospital, expect your doctor to prescribe certain antibiotics. Don’t be surprised or overwhelmed by the doses or by the price of these medications, as these are indeed crucial in the success of your child’s treatment and convalescence.
In the case of older patients who are stubborn and insist against hospitalization, here are a few alternative home remedies based on the timeless and effective Ayurveda- India’s ancient book of medicine.
Drink a regular dose of lemonade, orange juice and other beverages of high acidity. This will help in the production and flow of saliva.
Taking a cup of soy milk added with a teaspoon of honey each night within three to four months is also highly recommended to effectively clear out the bacteria.
Bacterial Meningitis can be treated, as long as you strictly adhere to and comply with the method of treatment you choose. It’s the best you can make out of a bad bargain.