How is meningitis treated?

If an individual is suspected with meningitis or septicemia, immediate admission at the hospital is required. The treatment is based on the form of meningitis that the individual is diagnosed with.

Bacterial meningitis

An individual with bacterial meningitis requires immediate treatment at the hospital. In severe cases, he/she might be treated in an intensive care unit. In most cases, antibiotics are used to manage the underlying infection. These are administered intravenously. At the same time, the following might also be given:

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Oxygen
    Meningitis

    Many individuals with mild viral meningitis will not need hospitalization. This form is usually mild and can be managed at home with adequate rest, pain medications for the headache and anti-emetics for vomiting.

  • Steroids or other medications to minimize the swelling around the brain

In case antibiotics are effective, the individual should be hospitalized for about a week. Nevertheless, for severe cases, hospitalization might take up to several weeks or even months. Take note that meningococcal disease can lead to some long-term complications.

Viral meningitis

Viral meningitis can either be mild or severe. The treatment is based on the severity of the condition.

Mild cases

Many individuals with mild viral meningitis will not need hospitalization. This form is usually mild and can be managed at home with adequate rest, pain medications for the headache and anti-emetics for vomiting. In most cases, it usually takes 5-14 days to fully recover.

Severe cases

In case the symptoms of viral meningitis are severe enough to necessitate hospitalization, antibiotics are administered until the cause of the symptoms is determined.

On the other hand, once a diagnosis of viral meningitis is confirmed, antibiotics are stopped since they have no effect on the viruses. Nevertheless, administration of intravenous fluids is given to help the body recover. In severe cases in which hospitalization is needed, antiviral medications might be given.

Controlling the infection

Most cases of meningitis are isolated and the risk for spreading the infection to others is low. On the other hand, if an individual is suspected to be at high risk for infection, he/she might be given a dose of antibiotics as a precautionary measure such as a young child who has been closely exposed to another child who developed bacterial meningitis.

Possible complications of meningitis

Always bear in mind that bacterial meningitis can put a big strain on the brain and the body. Those who have the meningococcal disease will surely end up with complications. These complications can vary in severity from one individual to another and can be momentary or permanent.

The more severe the condition is, the higher the risk for complications to arise. The complications are quite common after bacterial meningitis and rare after the viral type. The possible complications include the following:

  • Issues with concentration and memory
  • Partial or complete hearing loss
  • Problems with balance and coordination
  • Loss of vision that can be partial or complete
  • Problems with speech
  • Issues with behavior and learning difficulties
  • Epilepsy
  • Cerebral palsy
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