11 Common Terms About Bacterial Meningitis

Bacterial meningitis is one of the more dangerous types of meningitis because the symptoms turn severe rather quickly and can lead to several complications. If someone who has bacterial meningitis does not receive treatment, it could prove to be fatal in just a number of days. As such, it is important for one to familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis. To do so, one must understand some of the terms that are associated with signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis.

Below are 11 terms that are commonly used when talking about bacterial meningitis.

Meninges – The membranes that are around the brain and spinal cord. This is what is inflamed when someone is suffering from meningitis.

Meningococcal – A kind of bacterial meningitis. There is also a vaccine to help prevent this specific kind of meningitis by the same name.

Fontanel – The soft spot on the top of an infant’s head. If the infant has meningitis, one of the symptoms is a bulge on this spot of the head.

Pneumococcus – A type of bacteria that is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States. There is a vaccine that helps prevent/fight against this specific type of bacteria. Cases of bacterial meningitis caused by pneumococcus have gone down significantly since the vaccine was created.

Listeria – A type of bacteria usually found in some soft cheeses, hot dogs, and lunch meats. They typically affect those who have weakened immune systems, such as pregnant people, newborns, and elderlies. Listeria is especially dangerous for those who are pregnant because this type of bacteria can travel through the placental barrier. This could cause infections in the unborn baby and could result in the baby being birthed as a stillborn or the baby may pass away shortly following birth.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications – The kinds of medication and/or painkillers that are unsafe for people with untreated meningitis to use. It is not recommended that you take these kinds of medicine if you suspect you may have meningitis as well. These medications include regular off-the-shelf drugs like aspirin.

If you have untreated meningitis or you suspect you may have meningitis, it is recommended that you take acetaminophen to help reduce fever and/or body aches.

Lumbar Puncture – A lumbar puncture is typically referred to as a spinal tap. This is the most definitive way for doctors/physicians to determine whether or not someone has meningitis. Doctors will analyze the cerebrospinal fluid after the spinal tap. People with meningitis will typically have lower levels of sugar, an increased count in white blood cell, and increased level of protein in their cerebrospinal fluid.

Polymerase Chain Reaction Amplification – This is a DNA-based test that helps health professionals find out the specific cause of the patient’s meningitis. This allows the doctor to determine the proper route of treatment.

Mastoids – These are the bones that connect the middle of the ear to behind the outside of the ear. This part of the ear can sometimes become infected which can cause meningitis.

Intravenous Antibiotics – This is how one treats bacterial meningitis. Because bacterial meningitis tends to need to be treated as quickly as possible, antibiotics are typically delivered through the vein (intravenous, or IV). This helps lower the risk of further complications that can be caused by bacterial meningitis.

Unpasteurized Milk – This kind of milk typically contain a type of bacteria — listeria — that can cause bacterial meningitis. This is also true for cheeses that are made with this type of milk. For those who are pregnant, it is typically recommended for them to pay close attention to what type of cheese they ingest.

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