If you suspect that your child has symptoms of meningitis, you should immediately consult a doctor. After all, this is exactly the situation when it is better to play it safe than to show enviable restraint.
Despite the undoubted advances in medicine, mortality from meningitis is still high. What is meningitis?
Meningitis and its types
Meningitis is a disease in which the lining of the brain or spinal cord becomes inflamed. The causative agents of infection are bacteria, viruses, fungi. The transmission mechanism is airborne from patients or carriers of meningococcus when talking, coughing, sneezing. In medicine, the following types of meningitis are distinguished:
- Bacterial — the causative agents of bacterial meningitis are pneumococci, meningococci, streptococci, salmonella, staphylococci, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
- Viral — can be primary, caused by a viral infection, and secondary, as a complication of infectious viral diseases such as measles, influenza, rubella, chicken pox, epidermal parotitis and others.
- Fungal — can occur when the nervous system is damaged by fungi (mycoses). About 20 types of fungi can affect the brain, most often cryptococci and fungi such as Candida. Factors that predispose to meningitis in fungal infections are diabetes, long-term antibiotic treatment, alcoholism, and drug use.
Meningitis can also be caused by the simplest toxoplasma and amoeba.
Symptoms of the disease depend on the type of pathogen, which in each case will be different and have different severity.
In severe forms of bacterial and viral meningitis, the following symptoms are observed: rash on the first day of illness, severe headache, vomiting not associated with food intake, pallor, pronounced convulsive symptom, loss of consciousness. Unfavorable are the Waterhouse-Fridreksen syndrome, the fulminant form of meningococcal infection and fulminant purpura. Already in the first hours of the disease, purple spots appear on the skin, an abundant rash that forms hemorrhages.
With fungal meningitis, the main meningeal symptoms are observed, hydrocephalus, mycotic aneurysms, and spinal lesions may develop later.
Reliably diagnose meningitis is possible only with spinal puncture. Thus, it is possible to isolate the pathogen, reduce the pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid, which will alleviate the headache and additionally introduce antibiotics.
In bacterial meningitis, cerebrospinal fluid leaks under pressure, is white, and has an increased protein content. Additional data can be obtained using a complete blood count, bacteriological examination of nasopharyngeal mucus, CSF.
Meningitis can be treated only in a medical institution. Therapy of meningitis involves the use of antibiotics of the penicillin series — benzenepenicillin, amoxil, amoxiclav, flemoxin and others. The course of treatment is 5–7 days.
To reduce intracranial pressure, prescribe lasix, torasemide under the cover of asparkam. To restore the functioning of nerve cells and blood vessels, piracetam and nootropil are prescribed. For an anti-inflammatory effect, hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisolone can be used. With timely treatment started within 2–3 days, the child’s well-being improves, then complete recovery occurs.
Untimely access to a doctor is fraught with complications that can lead to infectious-toxic shock, cerebral edema, acute adrenal insufficiency, hydrocephalic syndrome, cerebroasthenia, and as a result, death.
Specific prophylaxis involves urgent immunization with type A meningococcal vaccine of all people who have had contact with the patient: family members, employees of child care facilities, children in kindergartens and schools. In order to prevent the spread of infection, contact people are isolated until the results of a bacteriological study are obtained. They are monitored for 10 days. The sick person is admitted to the team 5 days after discharge from the medical institution after a double negative result of the study of mucus from the nasopharynx. For 2 years, a child who has had meningitis is monitored by a doctor.
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