First of all, meningitis can be a serious illness unless properly treated at the right time. Meningitis is a disease which affects the brain. Now, let's look at the structure of brain to see what it is, brain and spinal code is surrounded by the fluid, cerebrospinal. Moreover, brain is further protected by meninges membrances, which cover the brain and spinal code. Meningitis is a disease involving inflammation (swelling), or irritation, of the meninges; and mostly caused by germs, especially virus. Meningitis could leave permanent damages if not treated properly, including damage on the ability to think and learn, hearing loss, etc. However, most of the affected people recover from the illness without any permanent damage, with proper care.
Both bacteria and virus can cause meningitis. Let's first look at the case of virus meningitis. There are many viruses which can cause meningitis, and they are together known as enteroviruses. Saliva (spit), feces (poop), and nasal discharge (snot) are the main medium through which it affects. For the same reason, you should wash your hands after going to bathroom, after sneezing and before you eat. In certain cases, meningitis can affect as an after effect of chickenpox, but, this is very rare. Get your child the usual chickenpox vaccination before every school term.
Now, let's see the bacterial meningitis, which is highly contagious by nature. Coughing, sneezing and sharing cups or even kissing can end up in infection.
Usually, when your child gets affected by meningitis, he may look very ill. These are the common symptoms which are characteristics of meningitis: headache, stiffness on the neck or back, eye pain or irritation when exposed to light, nausea, vomiting, body aches, fever, feeling very sleepy etc. Upon seeing these symptoms, you must call your doctor as soon as possible.
When you approach your doctor for help, he may ask numerous questions to find out what caused the infection and how long your child has been sick. After the complete checkup, doctor may go for spinal tap. Spinal tap is a process where the doctor takes a sample of cerebrospinal fluid which surrounds the brain. This fluid will be examined under microscope, to see if it has affected the meninges. The fluid will also be sent to a laboratory to see the presence of bacteria or virus. Once it is clear which germs cause the infection, it will be easy for the doctor to prescribe the right treatment.
Bacterial infection is a serious condition; in that case, strong antibiotic medicines will be given through a thin tube which goes into the vain. Your kid may be hospitalized in case of bacterial infection; for a better treatment.
Viral meningitis also could be serious; however not as bad as bacterial infection. Since antibiotics won't work against virus, your kid may need to take a lot of rest to fight the disease; better at the hospital itself. The whole recovery process may last for weeks.
The person comes in close contact with the affected kid is at the risk of infection. They must get antibiotics doses as a precautionary measure. It works only in the case of bacterial infection; virus infection couldn't be stopped with antibiotics.
If your child had all the regular vaccinations, then he may be protected from the infection. Wash your hands every time when you have used toilet, before eating and whenever you feel that your hands are dirty. This could save your kid from meningitis infection.