What Is Meningitis?
Meningitis is a medical condition which causes serious infection in meninges. It is caused when germs gain access to the body.
Meninges is a membrane covering the brain and spinal cord.
What Is Septicaemia?
Septicaemia is a type of blood poisoning that happens when germs or their toxicants enter the bloodstream. The same germs are responsible to cause septicaemia as the meningitis.
Meningitis and Septicaemia can take lives of people in a couple of hours.
Small children and infants are at the highest risk of getting the disease. Although these diseases can happen to people of any age group. As toddlers can’t express how they feel, parents need to be very cautious and notice the warning signs.
What Are The Common Symptoms Of Meningitis & Septicaemia?
Feeling Irritated or Fatigued
The babies are always sleepy and lethargic. It becomes difficult to wake them up, and they are often irritated.
Body Pain & Stiffness
They experience pain in joints, muscles or stomach. Their bodies are stiff and often make sudden twitchy movements.
High Body temperature
The body temperature rises up and they experience extreme shivering.
- Paleness Of Skin
- Their skin becomes pale or mottled.
- Difficulty In Breathing
- They breathe faster or slower than usual.
Pin-prick rashes appear anywhere in the body.
Suffers from a severe unmanageable headache.
Antipathies For Bright Lights
- Develop dislikeness for bright lights.
What Causes Meningitis & Septicaemia?
When these germs attack the body, meningitis and septicaemia occurs. Some types of the diseases are vaccine preventable, while others are not.
Bacterial Meningitis And Septicaemia: It is one of the most serious types of meningitis. It can result in permanent disability or death.
Main types of bacteria causing this type of illness are:
- Streptococcal(GAS & GBS)
- E. coli
- Haemophilus Influenzae Type B(Hib)
Out of these, following bacteria types affect infants more -
- E. coli
Viral Meningitis And Septicaemia
Virus can only cause Meningitis, and not Septicaemia. The symptoms of viral meningitis are very mild and could be relieved even without treatment.
Main types of viruses causing this illness are:
- Herpes viruses
Fungal Meningitis And Septicaemia
Main types of fungi causing this illness are:
- Candida Albicans
- Cryptococcus Neoformans
How To Prevent Meningitis?
Regular immunizations can protect babies from meningitis and septicaemia. Vaccinations that can prevent risk of the disease are:
MenC Vaccination - to ensure protection against meningococcal(group C) bacteria
Pneumococcal Vaccination - To ensure protection against many different types of pneumococcal bacteria.
HiB Vaccination - to ensure protection against influenzae bacteria.
These vaccines can be given to adults as well who have a weaker immune system.
When the immune system of a person is weak, he becomes susceptible to a number of serious diseases and infections. Preventive vaccines could be very beneficial for them to avoid a lethal disease called meningitis.
Who should Not Have This Vaccine?
Have a consultation with the doctor if your baby:
- Is suffering from high fever
- Gets severe allergic response to any vaccination
- Have haemophilia
How To Prevent The Risk Of Transmission?
People with meningitis don’t usually spread the disease. But, certain people are at a huge risk of getting the disease. They are:
- One who shares a home with meningitis victim
- College students sharing a dormitory
- Is a boyfriend/girlfriend of a meningitis sufferer
These people can take the recommended dosage of antibiotics and lower risk of the disease.
How Meningitis Is Diagnosed?
CT Scan: It creates cross sectional images of the brain. The doctor can detect the presence of meninges in the brain with a CT scan.
Other things that could be detected with CT scan are:
- Blood clots
- Presence of tumor
- Abnormalities of blood vessels and bones
- Brain injury
- Ripped disks
You can have a CT scan before lumbar puncture to ensure that there is no large tumor present in the brain.
It uses radio waves produced by computer along with a strong magnetic field to create images of the affected bone or tissue. It creates more detailed images in comparison to CT scan.
MRI can diagnose:
- Eye disorders
- Inflammation of brain and spinal cord
It is also called as spinal tap. In this test, a small sample of spinal cord fluid is taken and tested for the presence of infection in the body. It can also detect the type of bacteria that is leading to the infection.
Lumbar puncture is done to:
- Determine the amount of pressure exerted by cerebrospinal fluid
- Get the cerebrospinal fluid for laboratory investigations
- Inject dye or other radioactive material in the cerebrospinal fluid
- Vaccinate chemotherapy drugs, spinal anesthetics and several other medications
Lumbar puncture can diagnose:
- Internal bleeding in the brain
- Cancer affecting brain or spinal cord
- Inflammation of the autonomic nervous system
- Presence of infections
In some cases, blood samples of people are tested to examine the growth of germs.