Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective layer surrounding the brain and spinal cord caused by bacteria or viruses. Meningitis can result in hearing loss, seizures, learning disabilities, and in some cases brain damage and death. Outbreaks are common on college campuses, especially a type of meningitis called Meningococcal Meningitis. Meningitis is often spread through saliva (such as sharing a drink with someone, kissing or coughing) and close contact.
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light
If you think you have meningitis or have been in close contact with someone infected with meningitis, contact your doctor immediately. The earlier you are diagnosed, the lower your chances of having permanent damage to your body.
For Bacterial Meningitis – antibiotics.
For Viral Meningitis – rest, fluids, pain medications
Here are some ways to lower your chances of getting meningitis:
- Get vaccinated. Children should get their first shot at ages 11-12 and their second shot at age 16. Although vaccination does not guarantee absolute protection against meningitis, it does decrease the chances of contracting meningitis.
- Avoid close contact with those with meningitis.
- Practice good personal hygiene by washing your hands frequently
For more information:
- National Meningitis Association http://www.nmaus.org/