“I thought it was a seasonal cold…” What are the symptoms of suspected meningitis and how to prevent it?

During the changing season, the risk of catching a cold increases due to the large daily temperature difference. It’s easy to think of a cold when cold symptoms and fever appear at this time, but it could be ‘meningitis’, so you need to be careful.

The risk of meningitis, including colds, increases during the changing seasons, when immunity is easy to fall ㅣ Source: Getty Image Bank

What happens when a virus or bacteria enters the meninges

Our brain is surrounded by the soft membrane, the arachnoid membrane, and the dura mater from the deepest side. These three membranes are called the meninges, or meninges. Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges.

Most meningitis is infectious and occurs when viruses, bacteria and fungi enter our body through the respiratory tract and enter the cerebrospinal fluid through the blood . Therefore, meningitis is more likely to occur in the summer, when bacteria and viruses are active, or in the changing seasons, when immunity is easy to fall.

Meningitis can be broadly divided into viral and bacterial. Viral meningitis occurs when enterovirus or coxsackie virus is infected through direct contact with saliva, sputum, or a runny nose. At first, cold-like symptoms appear, but symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, and laryngeal stiffness appear. Although viral meningitis is highly contagious, it resolves spontaneously without special treatment. If symptoms are severe, treatment to alleviate symptoms.

MeningesㅣSource: Getty ImagesbankMeningesㅣSource: Getty Imagesbank

Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, requires prompt treatment. The initial symptoms are similar to those of viral meningitis, but it progresses rapidly and can lead to death or serious sequelae if not treated early. Bacterial meningitis is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, Bacillus influenzae, and meningococcus, and the risk can be avoided by using appropriate antibiotics. Typical symptoms include a stiff neck, glare, and headache.

Is it a cold or meningitis?
Bacterial meningitis can lead to serious or life-threatening complications if left untreated. Therefore, it is best to be aware of the difference between the symptoms of a cold and meningitis, and visit a hospital immediately if you have any suspicious symptoms. Hidak Neurosurgeon Consulting Doctor Oh Kyung-pil (Mediin Hospital) said, “Meningitis is characterized by findings such as neck stiffness on neurological examination. , there may be differences along with vomiting.” However, meningitis cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms alone, and requires accurate diagnosis through neurological examination, brain imaging, and cerebrospinal fluid examination.

Prevention is the best treatment, how to prevent meningitis?

There are vaccines for several types of bacterial meningitis. Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine, meningococcal vaccine, and pneumococcal vaccine can reduce the incidence of meningitis. Children over 2 months and under 5 years of age are eligible for meningitis vaccination, and high risk groups such as immunoglobulin deficiency, functional or anatomical asphyxia, bone marrow or organ transplantation, and children receiving immunosuppressive therapy should receive the vaccination.

On the other hand, since there is no vaccine for viral meningitis yet, the best prevention is to pay attention to personal hygiene. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap after going to the toilet or before and after preparing food, and cover your mouth with a tissue or collar when you cough.

Support = Hidak Kyungpil Oh Counseling Doctor (Mediin Hospital Neurosurgeon)

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