The most serious organism that causes meningitis is bacteria. It can also be caused by viruses, fungi, reactions to medications, and environmental toxins such as heavy metals. Meningitis is a life-threatening infection of the meninges. Meninges is the tough tissue layer that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. It can lead to brain swelling and cause permanent disability, coma and death. Patients infected with meningitis may need medication, supportive care, and long-term therapy as part of their treatment.
Meningitis treatment depends on the organism causing the infection, size of the infection, age, and complications of meningitis. For bacterial meningitis, treatment includes strong doses of intravenous antibiotics. Antibiotics can also prevent other bacterial infections. Prednisone, a corticosteroid, may be used to ease brain pressure and swelling. It can also prevent hearing loss that is commonly caused by Haemophilus influenzae meningitis.
Viral meningitis treatment is different from bacterial meningitis. It does not include medications to kill the virus except for herpes simplex meningitis. Mild meningitis may be treated at home. In treating mild viral meningitis, treatment includes fluids, bed rest in a preferably dark and quiet room, and analgesics for pain and fever. It is important check for signs of worsen condition. Seek the care of a doctor immediately if seizures, worsening headache or fever, profuse or uncontrollable vomiting, weakness or numbness of any extremities, confusion or excessive sleepiness, or difficulty in speaking, swallowing, or walking occur.
Patience with serious infection may be hospitalized. Physician may prescribe anticonvulsant to prevent seizures and corticosteroids to reduce brain inflammation. Pain medicine and sedatives may also be prescribed if the inflammation is severe. This is to make the patient more comfortable.
For herpes simplex meningitis, the antiviral supervision is controversial. Some experts do not support antiviral therapy unless connected encephalitis is present. It is because the condition is normally gentle and self-limited.
Fungal meningitis treatment involves antifungal medications. Fungal meningitis has 2 types, AIDS-Related cryptococcal meningitis and non-AIDS and non-transplant-related cryptococcal meningitis. AIDS-Related cryptococcal meningitis can be treated by administering amphotericin B with or without flucytosine for 2 weeks. To develop renal dysfunction, liposomal preparations of amphotericin B may be used in predisposed patients. The most effective way to prevent elapse for maintenance therapy is a long-term antifungal therapy of fluconazole.
For consolidated therapy for non-AIDS and non-transplant-related cryptococcal meningitis, administer amphotericin B plus flucytosine for at least 4 weeks. For neurological complications, you can extend to 6 weeks. In addition, you can administer fluconazole of at least 8 weeks. After 2 weeks of sterilization of the CSF, lumbar puncture is recommended.
You have treatment for meningitis available but prevention is still best than cure. You can reduce the risk of getting meningitis from an infected person with good personal hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and rinse under flowing water. Do not share utensils, glasses, and other objects with an infected person or someone exposed to them. You can take antibiotics if you have close contact with someone who has meningitis. There are also effective vaccines available to prevent bacteria that can cause meningococcal meningitis.
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