Meningitis, meningitis or meningitis is a disease of the meninges that can be attacked by inflammation and sustainably damaged. In most cases, the cause of meningitis or meningitis is an infection by bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi.

What is a meningitis?

Meningitis or meningitis is an inflammation of the dorsal and cerebral membranes. The causative agents are bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms (parasites). Click to enlarge.

Meningitis, Meningitis is a very serious and complex disease. This causes inflammation of the meninges.

Meningitis must be treated quickly, and a doctor or hospital should be consulted immediately after detection. If there is a meningitis, it is important to act quickly because the course of therapy depends significantly on the development of the disease.

A meningitis is a classic version of a bacterial infection, which usually occurs in small children or in adolescents. For the onset of the disease in most cases, three types of bacteria are crucial.

causes

Especially three types of bacteria can lead to meningitis or meningitis. These are the meningococci (Neisseria meningitidis), the pneumococci (Streptococcus pneumoniae) and the Haemophilus influenzae.

Most meningitis is due to the above-mentioned bacterial species, which are usually transmitted by a droplet infection, such as sneezing or coughing, from person to person. Often occurs in advance a rather uncomplicated and harmless inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, which then leads to meningitis.

However, a vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae in Germany is possible, so today especially meningococci are a cause of meningitis. Meningococci are now estimated to account for half of the reported cases of meningitis. In newborns, however, other pathogens usually lead to meningitis.

Symptoms, complaints & signs

In the various forms of meningitis (meningitis), the symptoms and symptoms in their development and expression are different. Bacterial meningitis almost always causes severe headaches. Typical of bacterial meningitis is the occurrence of at least one of the following symptoms: neck stiffness, loss of consciousness, high fever.

In particular, the neck stiffness (meningism) is a clear indication of meningitis. In the case of meningitis, affected persons can not move their head or only move their sternum in considerable pain. Often, meningitis also causes sensitivity to noise, body aches and photophobia. Also quite common are vomiting, dizziness, hearing and speech problems, and nausea.

Meningococcal meningitis causes sepsis in about 30 percent of cases. This blood poisoning is recognizable by red and brown skin spots. The symptoms of virally induced meningitis are characteristically less pronounced than in bacterial meningitis.

In infants and children suffering from meningitis, there is often only fever or nausea associated with non-specific signs of other diseases. Neck stiffness as a symptom is atypical at this age. For the rare special cases of tuberculous meningitis and neuroborreliosis, fever is often the only symptom for a long time.

course

In meningitis, positive courses can usually be brought about. In some cases, however, complications can not be ruled out. Sometimes it can come to the affected person to a Meningoenzephaltis. This means that the inflammation transfers from the meninges to the brain.

In addition, because the brain is connected to the spinal cord via the central nervous system, it can also lead to meningoencephalomyelitis, an inflammation of the meninges, brain and spinal cord. Also a neurological damage, such as a loss of hearing, or even a paralysis can not be excluded. In addition, mental damage (disabilities or behavioral problems) are not uncommon.

Also, a collection of pus in a resulting cave can be listed as an example of a negative course. Furthermore, a disturbance of cerebral circulation can not be excluded. Vascular occlusion of the veins by blood clots are not uncommon.

complications

Especially in the early stages of meningitis there is a risk of complications. In such cases, special treatment is required. Nevertheless, the prognosis of the disease can be unfavorable. In bacterial meningitis, on average one to two out of ten patients suffer from complications.

One of the worst consequences of meningitis is sepsis. It arises when the meningitis pathogens multiply in the blood. The toxic waste of the germs causes poisoning of the blood. The blood poisoning is more dangerous than the meningitis itself.

The bacteria thus penetrate via bloodstream into other organs and tissues and damage them. In the worst case, the affected person suffers from a septic shock. This in turn leads to acute circulatory failure. Because the organs and tissues are poorly supplied with blood, they are damaged.

Furthermore, due to the reduced blood flow in the limbs, the risk of a blood clot on. In the further course of the disease threatens a life-threatening organ failure. For this reason, the complications of meningitis must always be treated immediately in the intensive care unit.

Another dangerous sequelae is meningoencephalomyelitis, which affects the meninges and brain and spreads to the spinal cord. As a result, the patient may suffer permanent neurological damage. These include loss of hearing, paralysis and mental disabilities. Other conceivable complications of meningitis include meningoencephalitis, vascular occlusion, and brain abscess.

When should you go to the doctor?

In case of diminished performance, lack of pleasure and weakness, fatigue as well as a general weakness, a doctor should be consulted, especially if these symptoms persist for several days without cause or increase in intensity. If it comes to fever, dizziness, vomiting or nausea, a doctor is needed.

An ongoing fatigue, inner restlessness and low resilience should be investigated and treated. If sleep problems occur, there are problems of concentration or attention, a visit to a doctor is required. In the case of disturbances of consciousness, a doctor must be consulted as soon as possible or an emergency medical service must be called. Changes in the appearance of the skin, a pale complexion, a drop in blood pressure or cold feet and hands are indications that should be followed up. If it comes to disorders of balance, continue to function and digestive disorders or seizure, should a doctor visit.

For pain of the bones or joints, general malaise and feeling sick is one way to consult. Headache, a feeling of pressure in the head, body aches or an aversion to normal light influences the affected person needs medical care. If memory problems occur or everyday duties can no longer be met, a doctor must be consulted to clarify the cause.

Treatment & Therapy

However, the side effects and a negative course in meningitis can be avoided. It is important that the therapy of meningitis begins immediately. For therapy, strong antibiotics are given in most cases. After this initial measure has taken place and the blood test is available to the attending physician, the antibiotics are matched to the blood test.

As a rule, the intake then takes 7 to 14 days. In meningitis, the bacteria can also spread in the body, so it can also lead to blood poisoning. In such a case, the therapy in a hospital must be carried out under intensive observation and treatment. Such an approach significantly limits the risk of serious complications and consequential harm.

For your own safety, even if the meningitis is not very advanced, therapy should be performed in a hospital under medical supervision.

aftercare

Inflammation of the brain tissue is a dangerous and high-risk disease that requires proper care even after the healing process is over. Even during the treatment of such an inflammation of the meninges regular visits to the doctor must not be missed. Otherwise, serious complications can occur that can not be restored in retrospect.

For that reason, proper aftercare is very important and important. Possible complications can be detected early, treated and eliminated. If the inflammation of the meninges is completely over, further visits to the doctor are required. By appropriate aftercare later brain damage can be diagnosed early, so that long-term consequences can be avoided.

Even several years after the meningitis has survived, screening should always take place. Such examinations can stifle serious complications in the bud. Corresponding and regular follow-up care is just as important as the treatment itself. Only in this way can long-term consequences or other illnesses, which are due to the past inflammation of the meninges, be recognized and treated. A complete and lasting recovery is therefore highly dependent on proper aftercare.

Outlook & Forecast

The course of meningitis depends on whether it is triggered by bacteria or viruses. If it is a mild illness, it may even disappear in some cases without treatment. However, especially a bacterial disease causes death if not treated quickly. Also, a virus caused by the herpes simplex meningitis can take on life-threatening proportions.

If there is a suspicion of a disease, a therapeutic measure should be taken as soon as possible. The faster the treatment, the less likely you are to cure it. Very often there are complications associated with meningitis.

If this is caused by bacteria, it can cause a swelling of the brain with increased intracranial pressure, or even blood clots, paralysis of the nerves or loss of hearing. Also a blood poisoning can occur. These complications often arise when the disease is caused by meningococci or pneumococci.

As a therapeutic measure, the doctor will use antibiotics to fight the bacteria. If this happens at an early stage of the disease, there is great hope for healing. However, if viral meningitis is involved, antibiotics will not help. If it does not cure by itself, antivirals are used. Even then, the prognosis is positive.

You can do that yourself

Self-help or self-treatment leading to healing is not possible with meningitis and should therefore not be recommended. The treatment must always be done by a doctor.

Absolute calm in the patient's environment, darkened rooms and cold compresses for the head make it easier during the illness. Accompanying homeopathic remedies such as Belladonna for headache and Gelsemium sempervirens for photosensitivity can be administered. The recommendations for a nutrition-supporting diet during the illness are different.

Thus, on the one hand, a conscious protein-rich diet such as broth with egg and drinking plenty of milk is recommended to preserve the physical forces as long as possible. On the other hand, foods that boost the immune system can support the healing process. In particular, foods with antibiotic properties such as Echinacea, onions, lemons, radishes, garlic and fresh vegetable juices help. Preventing vomiting Food intake can be remedied by nutrient enemas.

In Germany, there is the topic of meningitis self-help groups. After overcoming illness, affected persons and relatives can exchange their experiences, talk about different therapeutic options, memory training and help in everyday life.

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