Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord. The inflammation can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. The severity of the inflammation depends on the type of infection – viral infections are usually relatively mild compared to bacterial infections and also go away on their own. A viral infection is the result of a viral attack on the membrane itself. A bacterial infection, the bacteria infiltrates the brain membranes through the blood stream or the ears.
A child will get meningitis is he comes into contact with a person infected with it. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, headaches, pain in the back of the neck, sensitivity to light, and pain moving their head. Sometimes, children seemed confused or are difficult to wake up.
In order to prescribe the best treatment method for your child, the doctor will perform a lumbar puncture test. A long, thin needle is inserted into the lower back and a few drops of spinal cord fluid are extracted. The fluid will indicate whether or not your child has meningitis in addition to help determine the type of meningitis. The meningitis type determines the course of treatment. Results from the test take an hour, but the final results take a number of days.
Treatment of Meningitis
Children with bacterial meningitis are admitted to the hospital for immediate antibiotic treatment. The antibiotics are administered intravenously. A child with viral meningitis does not need antibiotics but will receive supplementary treatment to prevent dehydration and discomfort.
If your child is diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis, you and other family members may need preventative antibiotic treatment. It is important to wash your hands after you come in contact with your child, and use separate utensils, plates and toilets from your child.