Meningitis is a disease caused by an inflammation of the meninges. These are the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The inflammation is usually caused by infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
There are several types of
meningitis with different causes:
Viral (caused by a virus)
Bacterial (caused by a
These are the most common symptoms of meningitis:
Symptoms for children may include:
These symptoms may not occur all at
once. And not everyone who gets meningitis will have all of these symptoms. The symptoms
of meningitis may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare
provider for a diagnosis.
Along with a health history and
physical exam, your healthcare provider may do one or more of the following tests:
Treatment may include:
While you are recovering from
meningitis, your healthcare provider may advise other treatments to help you get better
faster and ease symptoms. These may include:
You may need extra oxygen or a
breathing machine (ventilator) if you become very ill and have trouble breathing.
Several vaccines can prevent types
of bacterial meningitis. These vaccines are recommended for babies and children. Two
doses at ages 11 through 18 are also recommended.
In certain cases, your healthcare
provider may advise one of the meningitis vaccines. You may need a meningitis vaccine if
You may also need one if you travel
to countries where meningitis is widespread. If you have questions about prevention,
see your healthcare provider.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider: