By definition, meningitis is when the lining around the spinal cord and brain becomes inflamed as a result of the spread of infection. The swelling that occurs with this inflammation is the trigger for the notable signs and symptoms of meningitis. Early diagnosis and treatment of meningitis can avoid the onset of serious and lasting complications.
Symptoms of Meningitis
Because the initial symptoms for a meningitis infection can mimic cold or flu symptoms, it is easily mistaken for a mild infection rather than the serious one that it actually is. Symptoms of the infection can be rapid onset, such as within a matter of hours, or they may take one or two days to develop and become obvious.
Often included in the symptoms for meningitis are:
*severe headache unlike a typical headache that has been experienced before
*nausea or vomiting with the severe headache
*skin rash in some cases
*confusion (this can manifest as a lack of eye contact in very young babies)
In very young children, from newborn to about 2 years of age, meningitis symptoms often include:
*constant crying and may cry even harder when picked up rather than being comforted
*bulging soft spot on the top of baby’s head
*stiffness in body and/or neck
If you or someone you care about experiences a combination of any of the above symptoms or feel like you may have been exposed to meningitis in some way, it is important to seek medical attention. Any form meningitis requires immediate medical intervention in order to begin appropriate treatment quickly.
The doctor can determine if you or someone you love has a meningitis infection by taking a complete medical history, conducting a thorough physical exam and performing specific tests. These tests and procedures can include spinal tap to examine the spinal fluid, blood cultures and CT imaging of the head, sinuses and chest. If it is determined that meningitis is indeed present, a treatment plan that involves heavy duty medication typically given via IV in the hospital will be set up and administered. The exact treatment plan will depend upon the type of meningitis infection and how it has thus far affected the patient’s immune system. Most cases of the infection can be survived and recovered from if the medical treatment is prompt and correct to address the type of meningitis infection that is present.
The recent outbreak of meningitis in the United States has been discovered to be a fungal meningitis infection. This particular type of infection is not spread from person to person, but caused by the introduction of a fungus directly into the body via the blood stream. Contaminated steroid medications that were delivered via epidural injection are the current outbreak’s culprit, according to the Center for Disease Control. This means if you have not been given any steroid medications via epidural injection, then you are not at risk during this fungal meningitis outbreak. If epidural steroid injections are part of your medical treatment, contact your medical professional immediately for instructions, if you have not already been contacted.
This article was written by Megan Black on behalf of the S & S Legal Group. If you believe you have been affected by the meningitis outbreak, seek advice on your legal rights from a certified medical malpractice lawyer.