Bacterial meningitis involves infection of the sac surrounding the brain and spinal cord. In most of the acute cases of bacterial meningitis, antibiotics are used as treatment. Proper identification of the type of bacteria present is vital in selecting the ideal antibiotic to use, but treatment is already started using a potent broad-spectrum antibiotic. Luckily, the most common and serious forms of the acute cases can be prevented with vaccination.
At the present, streptococcus pneumoniae is the usual cause for bacterial meningitis. In the previous years, Haemophilus influenza type B is one of the causes but with routine vaccination among children, it drastically reduced the incidence. In addition, Neisseria meningitides is also another cause.
What are the indications?
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Generalized aches and pain
- Stiff neck
- Increased light sensitivity
- Irritability among children
- Malaise or lethargy
- Appetite loss or poor feeding among infants and children
What are the risk factors?
Various factors increase the risk for developing bacterial meningitis. The common risk factors include the following:
- Not regularly washing hands
- Working in a daycare or school setting
- Weak immune system
- Unable to receive vaccinations
Management of bacterial meningitis
The ideal treatment for an acute case of bacterial meningitis is to avoid it in the first place. Effective vaccinations have been developed against the 3 common causes of the disease – streptococcus pneumonia, Haemophilus influenza type b and Neisseria meningitidis.
Antibiotics are used in treating bacterial meningitis. The individual should carefully follow the prescribed course as instructed to prevent any complications. Aside from antibiotics, other measures typically include the following:
- Anticonvulsant medications to prevent seizures in severe cases of meningitis
- Corticosteroids to minimize the swelling and inflammation
- Anti-nausea medications if needed
- Fever-reducing medications such as acetaminophen
- Pain medications to provide comfort if needed
- Intravenous fluids as needed
- Oxygen therapy if shortness of breath is present
- Sedatives to increase comfort
- Surgical drainage of the sinuses if required