Know the Symptoms of Meningitis and Its Risk Factors


Meningitis refers to a medical condition in which the meninges or the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain get inflamed mostly due to viral infection. Fungal and bacterial infections may also lead to this health issue. Often characterized by the stiffness of the neck, high fever, and headache, meningitis can turn fatal, if not treated on time. In some rare cases, meningitis gets cured in a couple of weeks without any medication. However, it is never recommended to leave meningitis untreated and report to a doctor if you can find any of the below-mentioned symptoms of meningitis.

General meningitis symptoms are-

Symptoms of meningitis and flu are often quite similar, making it difficult to recognize at the very onset. However, some patients get many prominent meningitis symptoms in a few hours while others may take several days for developing the meningitis symptoms. Both adults and children have the risk of getting this infection. Anyone above two years of age is expected to show the following signs when infected by this disease germ.

  • Getting high fever all of a sudden
  • Neck stiffness, sometimes complete immobility of neck
  • Developing concentration difficulty or confusion
  • Difficulty in waking up, sleepiness in the daytime or excess fatigue
  • Seizures or epilepsy signs
  • Difficult to see in light or increased sensitivity to sunlight
  • Low appetite and thirst
  • Rad rashes on skin
  • A severe headache accompanied by fever. In most cases, the pain is quite unusual than a normal headache. Many patients also get vomiting or nausea along with a headache

Meningitis symptoms in babies below two years-

  • Meningitis in infants below two years can be extremely difficult to diagnose and may turn fatal. Therefore, consult a doctor if you see any of the signs in your child.
  • Constant crying accompanied by high fever. In most of the cases, the babies do not stop crying and might cry harder when trying to be consoled.
  • Some babies may also get a soft spot on the fontanel, which is the top of their head.
  • Irritability or excess sleeping
  • Low food intake
  • Sluggishness or inactivity
  • Stiffness in neck and body of the baby

Complication for neglecting meningitis symptoms-

Neglecting the symptoms of meningitis can be severe, including seizure or permanent neurological disorder. Delaying treatment can lead to the following complications in patients-

  • Loss of hearing
  • Difficulty in remembering things
  • Loss of learning ability
  • Seizures and shock
  • Gait disorders
  • Kidney problems including kidney failure
  • Brain damage
  • Death

Meningitis is undoubtedly noted among the most critical health complications. The complications become severe in case of infants and adults, as they have lesser immunity power. With timely diagnosis and proper treatment, one can even recover from an acute stage.

Risk factors leading to meningitis-

Whether it is viral or bacterial meningitis, it can affect anyone irrespective of their age or sex. However, there are some people, who are at higher risk than others. Some of the major factors increasing the risk of meningitis are listed below-

  • Improper vaccination
    Vaccination to prevent the risk of meningitis is available these days. However, not all people take vaccinations regularly and the ones, who skip vaccination, are at higher risk than those, who take timely vaccines.
  • Pregnant women
    An expecting mother needs more care than any other. It is not just because she is carrying a new life inside her, it is also important to care her as she has a higher risk of getting fatal diseases than others. A pregnant woman has more risk of getting listeriosis, which is triggered by listeria bacteria, a major cause of meningitis. Apart from death and miscarriage, women may also experience premature delivery or stillbirth after getting infected with listeriosis.
  • Age
    Children below the age of five years are more susceptible to viral meningitis than the adults. The risk of bacterial meningitis cannot be overruled until the age of 20 years. However, adults above 20 years may also get the infection triggered by some other risk factors.
  • Poor immune system
    Using immunosuppressant drugs or chronic diseases like diabetes and AIDS can also be a major risk factor for meningitis, as these adversely affect the immunity system. Alcoholism too can increase the risk of getting this infection by reducing the immunity power. Spleen removal due to some health complications is considered a threat for meningitis and anyone without a spleen should apply the vaccine unfailingly.
  • Community set-up
    The threat of getting meningococcal meningitis is higher in people living in community set-up like college dormitories, military camps of boarding schools. Child care facilities with poor hygiene also increase the risk factor significantly, as people living in large groups get the bacteria spread from one person to other through the respiratory tract. Meningitis treatment and cure are now available in every part of the United States. So, consult at once without any hesitation.