Meninges are membranes that cover or envelope the brain and the spinal cord. There are three meninges—dura mater, arachnoid, and pia mater. The meninges protect the central nervous system. When bacteria affect these membranes, the condition is then called meningitis. Meningitis is of three types—bacterial, fungal, and viral. Bacterial meningitis is life-threatening and can also spread among people when they come in close contact with each other. Viral meningitis, however, is not as dangerous as bacterial meningitis and can be recovered without treatment. Fungal meningitis, on the other hand, is one of the rare forms of meningitis that occurs in those who have a weak immune system.
Some of the causes of meningitis are:
– Fungal infection
– Autoimmune disorders
– Cancer medications
These are not the common causes but can trigger meningitis. Meningitis is more likely to attack people aged under 5, between 16–25, or over 55 years.
If you do not know about this disease, then there is a good chance you will miss out on the symptoms and that is not good for a patient suffering from the same. The symptoms of meningitis can easily be confused with common cold, cough, and fever. Besides back ache, loss of appetite, and pale skin, here are some symptoms that should not be ignored when spotted:
- Light sensitivity
If the eyes are suddenly sensitive to light or anything bright, it can then be a symptom of meningitis. If there has been a problem with bright light for a long time, then it does not necessarily have to be because of meningitis. However, if this is a new thing that you are seeing or something that suddenly started happening, then there could be a problem.
- Cold/common cold
Common cold with other symptoms like fever, vomiting, or muscle pain can be a sign of meningitis and should be checked. However, if is it just common cold and nothing more than any other common cold symptom, then you should not be concerned. However, it is important to know all signs and symptoms.
This will probably look like another regular sickness we all go through. But there is more to just sickness than anything else. This symptom of meningitis affects your immune system and you are likely to notice a sudden rise in your temperature and this could be a chance of meningitis and should be tested so the treatment can start as soon as possible.
Vomiting is usually a scary signal and most people rush to the hospital when they vomit out of some sickness. Usually, vomiting is a good way to make people realize the depth of the problem. Therefore, you should go to the doctor to get a check-up done.
- Stiff neck
When you experience an inflammation in the membranes, the neck becomes stiff and swells up. This is one of the important signs and symptoms of meningitis. If you see this sign along with some other symptoms, then it is time to take things a little seriously and not treat it as a common problem that comes and goes.
- Rashes on the skin or red spots
You get skin rashes because the virus that has caused meningitis in your body has also spread into your blood stream. There can be tests done to find out if the rash is from meningitis or something else.
This is a common symptom of common cold or fever. But to avoid misunderstanding, focus on how different it is from a common headache that you get with ever you are down with fever or cold. When you have a headache because of meningitis, it is not like a normal headache. You will feel the intensity and pain as being different than usual. It could be one of the symptoms of meningitis as well.
- Muscle pain
Muscle pain along with other illness can be taken lightly. Sometimes the muscle pain will be so intense that you cannot walk. When you see yourself or someone not being able to walk just because of the muscle pain, ensure to visit the doctor to get tested. Moreover, in the case there is something wrong, the treatment can be done.
Seizures are an alarming symptom of meningitis and must be dealt with immediate medical help. Even if there is something close to seizure, one should immediately see a doctor.
Meningitis also affects kids and it is difficult to spot the symptoms of meningitis in them. Hence, it is important to know symptoms of meningitis that kids might show when they have this condition. You can focus on their cries, as it will not be regular but will be high-pitched. They will get irritated more often than not and can show the irritation when you pick them up. In children, the meningitis virus can spread quickly causing death and hence the symptoms need to be looked for carefully and if spotted, must immediately be taken for medical check-up and treatment. There is a vaccine that too can be given to kids which will prevent them from getting this illness in the future.