August 2, 2016 | Meningitis, what is it? Am I likely to have it? Odds are you probably don’t. However it is important to know the specific cause of meningitis because the treatment differs depending on the cause.
WHAT IS IT?
According to the CDC, Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. This inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Meningitis is usually caused by bacteria or viruses, but can be a result of injury, cancer, or certain drugs.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MENINGITIS
- Bacterial Meningitis – caused by bacteria, can be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Vaccines are available to help protect against some kinds of bacterial meningitis. Spread from person to person.
- Viral Meningitis – caused by viruses, is serious but often is less severe than bacterial meningitis. A good healthy immune system usually does the trick, however there are some vaccines to prevent viral meningitis. Spread from close contact with a person.
- Fungal Meningitis – caused by fungi, usually acquired by inhaling fungal spores from the environment. People with diabetes, cancer, or HIV are at higher risk of fungal meningitis.
- Parasitic Meningitis – Various parasites can cause meningitis or affect the brain or nervous system. This type is much less common than viral or bacterial meningitis.
- Amebic Meningitis – is rare, yet devastating to the brain. Caused by a free-living microscopic ameba called Naegleria fowleri which is found naturally in warm water and soil.
- Non-Infectious Meningitis – not spread from person to person, but caused by cancers, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), certain drugs, head injury, and brain surgery.
Even though meningitis may seem a bit threatening, there are ways to prevent it. For one, a meningococcal vaccine can help prevent the leading cause of bacterial meningitis. You can also take steps to improve your immune system and prevent the spread of the disease. Keep in mind that it is important to visit your primary doctor for routine check-ups.
For more tips to prevent meningitis, click here.
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