Meningitis is a clinical term used to describe an inflammation or swelling of the membranes that surround the brain. Meningitis, especially the type caused by bacteria, is a potentially fatal condition that can rapidly transform to cause permanent brain damage, neurological problems, and can even lead to death. Doctors are required to diagnose and treat meningitis at a fast pace to prevent or reduce any long-term effects that the disease might have. Meningitis which causes inflammation is normally a direct consequence of either an infection induced by some kind of bacteria or virus. But first, it is essential to understand the signs of meningitis for early diagnosis.
Some common symptoms of meningitis
Normally, meningitis has symptoms like fever, lethargy or indolence, and a decreased ability to think properly. However, these symptoms are often very difficult to detect in children of a very young age. If the infection or resulting inflammation moves from the membranes of the brain or the spinal cord, then the medical term used for it is encephalitis. According to a survey, meningitis mostly occurs when a child is a newborn and till he is two years of age. The greatest risk is during the time period immediately after birth and from three to eight months of age. Increased exposure to various kinds of infections and a deficiency of the underlying immune system present from birth can increase an infant’s risk of getting meningitis.
Specific symptoms for meningitis in children
For the particular case of infants, the signs and symptoms of meningitis are not always obvious to the non-critical eye of the parent because of the infant’s inability to communicate symptoms to them, or to the doctors, for that matter. Therefore, caregivers, parents, relatives or guardians must pay very close attention to the infant’s overall condition, as far as meningitis symptoms in children are concerned. The following is a list of possible symptoms seen in infants or children who might be suffering from the most common type of meningitis, bacterial:
Some very common and rudimentary symptoms of meningitis in infants younger than three months of age may include:
Symptoms in older infants
Some classic signs of meningitis in children older than one year of age are as follows:
Symptoms in adults
Adults can also show some pretty discernable signs of meningitis. A recently concluded survey says that about 25 percent of those who develop meningitis have symptoms that develop over a period of a single day. The remaining people generally become ill over a time period of one to seven days. Occasionally, if a particular patient has been consuming antibiotics for another infection, the symptoms can take a little bit longer to develop or may be less intense, depending on the medicines being consumed.
Some of the less known symptoms are as follows:
Thus, many of the symptoms are common to both adults and children and everyone should keep an eye out for them so that they can take necessary steps in time.