When we get sick, it's easy to mistake our symptoms for flu symptoms. The meningitis can be an example. This causes stiffness, headaches, and high fever. But to the average person this may seem like a cold, and because of that assumption, you may not receive the proper treatment.
8 symptoms of meningitis every parent should know
Meningitis is usually triggered by a fungal bacterial or viral infection, and if left untreated, it can be life-threatening if the right antibiotics are not taken.
That being said, if you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from meningitis, the following symptoms will be apparent.
Most people with meningitis will experience a stiff neck and back because the inflammation stimulates the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. It is the constant swelling that causes discomfort, and if you start to experience a sudden fever or headache that accompanies that pain, you may have meningitis.
If you have a cold, this could develop into what is called viral meningitis. This type of meningitis is neither harmful nor potentially harmful to your health or that of others. But if you also get an unexplained stiffness in your neck, it would be best to see a doctor.
The onset of a sudden fever will occur as soon as meningitis enters the body, as the immune system reacts by increasing body temperature. If you have developed meningitis, you will experience a fever within 3-7 days.
Unfortunately, this symptom is not the most common symptom to look out for, as only 44% of patients who have this infection show this sign. This can make self-diagnosis extremely difficult, so if the fever does not subside, see a doctor.
Another telltale sign of meningitis is a severe headache that doesn't go away. This is due to inflammation and swelling of the membranes that surround the neck and spinal cord. Headaches are considered one of the most common symptoms of meningitis.
It is important to identify what type of headache you have. Generally, if you have meningitis, the headache you experience will not be the same as a normal headache. It won't go away unless you take the right meningitis medication.
When your brain experiences severe swelling, it can hinder your ability to function. So if you suffer from meningitis, your brain will swell and you may experience confusion, an inability to concentrate, memory loss, insomnia, dizziness, and difficulty waking up.
When you experience confusion, it can present itself in many different ways. For example, you may have trouble discerning what is a dream and what is real, your memories may not be clear, or you may completely forget certain events. Some people, especially those who are older, have to deal with this confusion for quite some time.
Sensitivity to light
Meningitis can cause severe sensitivity to light, which causes you to squint, or have blurred vision under bright lights or the sun. As a result of this, you may start to experience a headache.
The reason your vision becomes blurry when you have meningitis is because the optic nerve begins to swell. In most cases, the swelling will decrease and your normal vision will be restored. However, in severe cases of meningitis, partial or total blindness can occur in both eyes without the possibility of reversal.
If you have meningitis, vomiting and nausea will occur in the early stages. As the infection travels through the body, it will upset the stomach and cause vomiting. People often lose their appetite too. Depending on the severity of the infection, extreme weight loss can also occur.
Those who already have a weakened immune system before meningitis are more susceptible to getting the infection. The symptoms they experience can also be much worse due to the body's inability to fight infection.
Often infants and young children who experience meningitis develop a rash. The eruptions appear thanks to the bacteria that multiply in the bloodstream, and that release poisons that begin to damage the blood vessels, which produces a rash.
The best way to assess whether the rash is just an irritated infection or a cause of meningitis is the glass test. Take a glass and press it against an area where the rash is. If the marks stay the same, and you can see them clearly through the glass, see a doctor. But if the marks fade under the pressure of the glass, it's just an irritated rash.
Loss of appetite
Due to constant nausea and vomiting, meningitis can affect the digestive system in a major way. You can lose your appetite or even avoid eating everything together for fear of throwing it up. This could lead to unhealthy weight loss that can lead to even more health problems.
As tough as it may sound, you should try consuming food when it comes to meningitis. The more nutrients you put into your body, the stronger your immune system will become against infection. In severe cases, people are admitted to the hospital so they can receive an intravenous injection so the patient can stay hydrated.
The best foods for weight loss include options that are high in nutrition and low in calories - supporting good health and helping you stick to your calorie limit. Other great options are foods that help reduce hunger or cravings, helping to keep you on track. These include options that are rich in heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber, along with options that are basically calorie-free!