Meningitis disease is simply the inflammation of the meninges, which are essentially the three membranes lining the vertebral canal, skull, as well as spinal cord; the three membranes are the pia mater, the arachnoid, and the dura mater. Meningitis disease is characterized by a combination of many features, such as intense fever and headache, muscular rigidity, as well as sensitivity to light. In severe conditions, the disease may lead to delirium, convulsions, and eventually the death of the affected person. It is a very common disease affecting thousands of people globally. Fortunately, the disease is preventable and curable if detected early.
As explained by Waite (25), anyone can get meningitis disease at any time and any age; it affects both children and adults. Unfortunately, babies and children under the age of five years have the highest risk of getting meningitis disease. There are several signs and symptoms of meningitis; the most common symptom is neck stiffness associated with intense headache. Other common symptoms of meningitis include cold hands and feet, rapid breathing, feeling of agitation, vomiting, refusal to feed, feeling of drowsiness, floppiness and unresponsiveness, unusual high-pitched cry or moaning, blotchy skin, pale and reddish rash that doesn’t fade, bulging soft spot on the head, as well as dislike for bright lights. Meningitis also causes the affected person to have intense convulsions or seizures. An affected person can show all these signs and symptoms or just a combination of some few.
The meningitis signs and symptoms listed above can appear in any order, time, and manner. However, it is essential to note that some signs and symptoms may not appear at all even under intense conditions. The hardest sign of meningitis to see is rash on dark skin; in most cases, it appears as spots especially on paler areas on the skin such as palm, sole, as well as tummy and inside eyelids. Meningitis can be discovered through medical tests. Other nonmedical tests, such as the glass test are also commonly being used to discover meningitis disease. For instance, by pressing firmly against the skin the side of a clear glass, one is able to conclude meningitis if the rash fails to disappear. This simple test can be done at home and does not require any medical knowledge.
There are two common types of meningitis disease namely bacterial meningitis and viral meningitis. According to Shmaefsky and Hilary (206), different classes of bacteria such as streptococcus pneumonia and neisseria meningitides cause the former type while virus causes the latter type through poor hygiene, sneezing or coughing. The bacterial meningitis is mostly caused through close contact with the affected person. Although treatable, it is the most serious and common type of meningitis disease, affecting thousands of people globally; it spreads very fast and if not treated immediately may lead to severe infection of the blood as well as brain damage. On the other hand, viral meningitis is less serious, most common, and more difficult to detect.
The fortunate thing about meningitis disease is that it is treatable; treatment often starts with painkillers for the headache and plenty of rests, following by special anti-sickness medications. Meningitis disease is treated using a couple of intravenous antibiotics; treatment usually requires admission in the hospital. Under severe cases, meningitis is treated in specialized in intensive care where the body’s vital functions are monitored and supported by life machines. In conclusion, meningitis is a very common disease that should be taken seriously and treated immediately.
Shmaefsky, Brian, and Hilary Babcock. Meningitis. New York: Chelsea House, 2010. Print.
Waite, T. D., et al. “Systematic review on Rapid Diagnostic Tests for meningococcal meningitis disease in sub-Saharan Africa WHO Protocol to inform the revision of meningitis outbreak response guidelines.” (2014).