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.
- Unexplained severe headache accompanied by throwing up
- Stiffness of the neck
- Lack of appetite
- High fever that appears suddenly
- Difficulty sleeping
Symptoms vary somewhat for babies:
- Poor feeding
- 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.
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.
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:
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.
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of memory
- Kidney failure
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.
And as always:
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY…AND IT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU!!!