How is meningitis treated?

Treatment depends on the type of meningitis.
Treatment depends on the type of meningitis.

Treatment depends on the type of meningitis. The treatment for different types of meningitis is as follows:

Bacterial meningitis: It is treated with antibiotics. Intravenous administration of corticosteroids and antibiotics helps to bring down inflammation. After identifying the specific bacteria, physicians may change antibiotics. Besides antibiotics, the physician may also replenish fluids lost from sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Viral meningitis: Most of the cases of viral meningitis resolve on its own. Treatment of mild cases of viral meningitis include:

  • Bed rest
  • Plenty of fluids
  • Pain medications to reduce fever and body pain

Antiviral medications may be given when there’s an infection with the herpes virus.

Antifungal medications may be useful in treating fungal meningitis.

Parasitic meningitis: Early treatment with high-dose intravenous antibiotics may be useful in treating meningitis.

Noninfectious meningitis: The cause of meningitis is identified and treated. Allergic or autoimmune meningitis may be treated with corticosteroids. 

Moreover, the physician may prescribe sedatives for irritability or restlessness.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord and is characterized by an abnormal number of white blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid. Meninges act as a protective layer to the brain and spinal cord. Inflammation occurs mainly due to bacterial or viral infection. Other causes of meningitis include:

Treatment of meningitis differs depending on the causes.

How does one get meningitis?

The main cause of meningitis may be a bacterial or viral infection that originates in the ears, sinuses, or throat. Less common causes of meningitis include:

Factors that increase the risk of meningitis include:

  • Children aged below five years
  • Tobacco smokers
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
  • Immunosuppressant medications
  • Non-functioning spleen
  • Skull or facial fractures
  • Chronic lung, heart, or kidney conditions
  • Placement of a cochlear implant
  • Exposure to a meningitis-affected person
  • Pregnant women
  • People aged above 50 years

QUESTION

What percentage of the human body is water? See Answer

How does the physician diagnose meningitis?

The physician may diagnose meningitis based on the symptoms presented. A thorough history of the patient might help the physician to diagnose meningitis. Other tests that may help the physician to diagnose include:

  • Laboratory screening of the blood, urine, and body secretions may help to detect infections.
  • Neurologic examination can be conducted to assess sensory or motor functions of the brain.
  • Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid to identify infections. Lumbar puncture is commonly used to obtain a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid.
  • Brain imaging such as computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may reveal signs of inflammation, internal bleeding, or other brain abnormalities.
  • Electroencephalography or EEG helps to identify abnormal brain waves by monitoring electrical activity in the brain.

Can bacterial meningitis be cured?

There’s a 10% death rate from bacterial meningitis; however, early diagnosis and treatment may help the patients to recover.

How to minimize the risk of meningitis?

The risk of meningitis can be mitigated by following these simple steps:

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 9/11/2020
References
https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/232915-treatment#d17

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/11039-bacterial-meningitis/outlook--prognosis

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Meningitis-and-Encephalitis-Fact-Sheet

https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/index.html