Today on STORMS IN THE BRAIN, we will be exploring the EXACTING ENCEPHALITIS.

What is Encephalitis?

Encephalitis is another brain disease caused by the inflammation of the brain. It is predominately a viral disease. Like Meningitis, Encephalitis symptoms may mimic a bad case of the flu.

What are these symptoms?

In mild cases, you can expect:

  • Aches in your muscles and joints
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Fever

In the more severe cases, be on the lookout for:

  • Problems with your speech and hearing
  • Movement issues
  • Stiffness in a particular part of your face or body
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness


In babies, the symptoms may vary:

  • Difficulty feeding
  • Irritability
  • Throwing up
  • Stiffness in their bodies
  • A soft spot on their heads that protrude

If you notice these symptoms, especially in babies, seek medical help immediately.

What causes Encephalitis?

While in most cases, Encephalitis is viral, no one can accurately pinpoint the actual cause of this disease. What is known is that there are two different types of Encephalitis.

  • Primary Encephalitis: This is caused by a direct attack on the brain itself by a viral agent. The viral agent could spread or stay still. In fact, the viral agent could lay silently in the brain in a dormant state.
  • Secondary Encephalitis: This occurs when you get an infection in another part of the body and your immune system begins to attack the healthy cells instead of only the infected cells.

What are the viral agents that cause Encephalitis?

  • Childhood infections: The viruses that cause diseases like the mumps and measles can escalate and cause secondary Encephalitis.
  • Ticks and Mosquitos: Viruses such as the Powassan, which is carried by ticks, and West Nile Virus, which is caused by mosquitos, can spiral into Encephalitis.
  • Herpes: Cold sores, genital herpes, chickenpox, shingles and fever blisters, all carry viruses that could turn into Encephalitis.
  • Rabies: Commonly associated with being bitten by a rabid animal, this virus can cause an accelerated from of Encephalitis.
  • Enteroviruses: These viruses promote flu-like symptoms.

What are the risk factors associated with Encephalitis?

No one is exempt from getting Encephalitis. We are all included as candidates if we meet any of these criteria.

  • Seasons Change: Summertime is a perfect time for a mosquito and tick invasion.
  • Where You Live: In speaking about mosquitos and ticks, they love certain areas in the United States.
  • Systems Are Down: Your immune system, if found in a weakened state, can be a breeding ground for Encephalitis.
  • How Old Are You?: Certain cases of Encephalitis are more prevalent and more severe depending on the age of the infected person.

What are the severe complications can you expect from Encephalitis?

Depending on the severity of the Encephalitis, the list below can be long-term, or even PERMANENT.

  • Problems with your memory
  • Changes in your personality
  • Issues with your hearing, speech, and sight
  • Difficulties with muscle movement
  • Constant feeling of being tired
  • Paralysis

How can you determine the severity of the complications you have due to Encephalitis?

The following criteria is a great “measuring stick” when trying to figure out the severity of the complications you can get from Encephalitis.

  • Your age
  • The time between it took you to seek treatment after contracting Encephalitis.
  • How severe the Encephalitis was at the moment you got it.
  • The cause of your particular case of Encephalitis

What are the ways that you can prevent yourself from getting Encephalitis?

You can help yourself everyday against being Encephalitis’s next victim. Like my previous article THE MANGLING MENINGITIS, you can:

  • Mind your hygiene: Wash your hands often
  • Your eats are yours: Never share anything that goes into your mouth.
  • Shoot it down: Make sure you and your children have all their vaccinations.

But what about mosquitos and ticks?

In order to protect yourself and your children from the threat of viruses that cause Encephalitis that mosquitos and ticks carry, follow the following procedure.

  • Dress to repel: If you wear clothing that covers your arms and legs, mosquitos and ticks cannot get to you.
  • A spray a day…: Using repellent that contains permethrin will not only repel mosquitos and ticks, but kill them as well.
  • Keep away: Great advice. If you do not want to get bit, stay away from places they are known to be.
  • Useless water: Get rid of all water that is simply sitting in an area. Mosquitos love still water.
  • Look for the signs: If you look outside and notice sick or dying birds and animals, report it immediately to your local health department.

This wraps up another episode of STORMS IN THE BRAIN. Be on the lookout for our next segment where we look into EERIE EPILEPSY.

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meningitis pic

Welcome to my newest series STORMS IN THE BRAIN.

In this series, I will discuss the different diseases that the brain can have, the risk factors, what can be done for them, and, if possible, what can be done to prevent them.

Our first “Storm” in the brain is the MANGLING MENINGITIS.

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis occurs when the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord become inflamed.

When this inflammation starts to swell, it can lead to headaches, fever, and even a stiffness in your neck.

What are the symptoms?

In the early stages of Meningitis, the symptoms may imitate those of the flu. These symptoms can take anywhere from a couple of hours or a couple of days to appear.

Symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Unexplained severe headache accompanied by throwing up
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Lack of appetite
  • High fever that appears suddenly
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty sleeping

Symptoms vary somewhat for babies:

  • Poor feeding
  • Irritability
  • Colic
  • Sluggishness
  • Bodily stiffness
  • A small protrusion on the top of the baby’s head


What causes Meningitis?

There are three main causes of Meningitis: viral, bacterial, and fungal.

Viral Meningitis:

When this form of Meningitis hits, it is usually mild and temporary.

In the United States, these bacteria invade under the cover of enteroviruses that one gets from the late summer to early fall time.

In addition to these enteroviruses, herpes, West Nile Virus, mumps, and other viruses can also cause Meningitis.

Bacterial Meningitis:

When bacteria travel inside the bloodstream and drop themselves off at the brain and spinal cord, Bacterial Meningitis occurs.

However, that is not the only cause of Bacterial Meningitis.

The bacteria responsible for causing Bacterial Meningitis can make a direct attack against the central nervous system under the cover of an ear or sinus infection or even a skull fracture. Such an invasion of the central nervous system by these bacteria has even been known to happen after some surgeries (though quite rarely).

What are the bacterial invaders that cause Bacterial Meningitis?

Listeria Monocytogenes: This type of bacteria hides in unpasteurized food such as cheese and lunchmeats. Pregnant women, babies, and the elderly become the prime candidate for this type due to their weakened immune system. Pregnant women beware. This bacterial invader may be fatal to the unborn child especially if it attacks in the later terms of pregnancy. A vaccine is available to prevent this invader from causing problems.

Neisseria Meningitidis: A very popular bacteria among teenagers and young adults, these bacteria can quickly start an epidemic in military bases, boarding schools, and even college dorms. One of the main results of this bacterium is an upper respiratory infection. Like the previous bacteria, a vaccine is available to prevent this issue.

Maemophilus influenzae: Children, look out. Not too long ago, this bacterium was one of the leading causes of Bacterial Meningitis in children. However, now with the advance of medicine, a vaccine has evened the score.

Streptococcus pneumoniae: Now we arrive at the most common form of Bacterial Meningitis. This bacterium causes ear and sinus infections along with pneumonia. Luckily, a vaccine can help you prevent all that.

Now, unto the last common form of Meningitis:


Fungal Meningitis:

When one thinks about Meningitis, one does not normally think of a fungal cause. That is because of the rarity that this type of Meningitis occurs.

Though rarely seen, Fungal Meningitis attacks people who possess an immune deficiency and is fatal if the person infected does not use an antifungal medication.

Are there other causes of Meningitis?

Other than the ones listed above, Meningitis can also come from chemical reactions, allergies to medications, and certain forms of cancer.

Who makes a good candidate for contracting Meningitis?

  • Pregnant Women: These women are at a high risk of the listeria bacteria that may lead to Meningitis and can cause premature delivery, miscarriage, and even cause a baby to be stillborn
  • Vaccination Avoidance: Those who do not take all the recommended vaccinations, either child or adult, run the risk of contracting Meningitis.
  • Large settings: As mentioned above, military bases, boarding schools, and even college dorms are a great risk for Meningitis.
  • Immune deficiency: Also mentioned above, those with a weakened immune system are more susceptible to Meningitis.
  • Age: Viral Meningitis is common for babies while Bacterial Meningitis is common for those over 20

What complications can one expect from Meningitis?

As with any serious disease, the longer anyone has it, the more severe the disease becomes. Below is a list of some of the complications that arise with the onslaught of Meningitis.

  • Seizures
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of memory
  • Shock
  • Kidney failure
  • Death



Can Meningitis be prevented?

Even though medicine has advanced considerably over the years, Meningitis, as with other diseases, cannot be 100% prevented (e.g. problems with surgery, injury, or medications). However, there are steps we can take to make sure we are not vulnerable to this disease.

  • Adequate personal hygiene: Wash hands (and body) often, do not share drinks, food, utensils, toothbrushes or anything dealing with the mouth and lips.
  • Cover yourself: This is especially true when someone coughs or sneezes.
  • Raw Deal: Cook all foods and make sure the cheese you eat and the milk you drink or cook with is pasteurized.
  • Vaccinate: make sure your children get ALL the necessary vaccinations.

Well, that about wraps it up here. I hope you enjoy this and look forward next time for another Storm in the Brain where we will cover the EXACTING ENCEPHALITIS.

Please comment below.

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