Treatments Available for Meningitis
Meningitis is a potentially deadly infection which causes an inflammation of the thin tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord in the human body; this tissue is known as the meninges. The symptoms of meningitis can manifest quite quickly, and research has shown that there are many new parents who are unaware of the symptoms which could indicate that their child is infected. If you are a new or expectant parent, then you should be aware that symptoms like fever, chills, headaches, vomiting, neck stiffness, drowsiness, and seizures could mean that your child may have contracted meningitis.
There is currently a vaccine available for meningitis, and this can help prevent most types of meningococcal disease. However, this vaccine cannot yet prevent all cases of infection. With vaccine clinical trials, we will continue to see improvements in these vaccinations and less serious cases of meningitis. If your child has been diagnosed with meningitis, then they will need to be hospitalized immediately. A full recovery from this infection will depend on how promptly the patient can be treated. The course of treatment applied will depend on the type of meningitis diagnosed.
(If you live in Florida, we are looking for people to enroll in our meningitis vaccine clinical trial in DeLand, FL.)
Treatment for Bacterial Meningitis
Acute bacterial meningitis is the rarer form of the infection, but it is also deadlier than viral meningitis. Patients with this infection will require immediate treatment with intravenous antibiotics and cortisone medications in order to reduce the risk of further complications (swelling of the brain and seizures) and ensure a full recovery. Doctors must choose the appropriate combination of antibiotics based on the type of bacteria which originally caused the infection. If they are having difficulty identifying the specific source of the meningitis, then a broad-spectrum antibiotic can be used in the meantime.
Treatment for Viral Meningitis
This type of meningitis will not respond to treatment with antibiotics, but these cases tend to be less serious than bacterial meningitis. In fact, most cases of viral meningitis will improve on their own over the course of a few weeks. Doctors often recommend bed rest, plenty of fluids, and observation for people with this infection. Over-the-counter pain medication can also help reduce any body aches and fever caused by the infection. Also, an antiviral medication is available for meningitis that was caused by the herpes virus.
Less Common Types of Meningitis
Fungal meningitis will be treated with antifungal drugs. Unfortunately, these drugs have been known to cause severe side effects, so treatment is deferred until lab tests can confirm that it is fungal meningitis. Chronic cases of meningitis are often treated with these drugs, as their roots are usually fungal.
There is also the noninfectious form of meningitis which can be caused by autoimmune disease or an allergic reaction. This type of meningitis can be treated with cortisone medications. In other cases, noninfectious meningitis may not require any treatment, because many cases resolve themselves.
Under the less than likely circumstances that the cause of the infection can’t be identified, doctors may choose to start their patient on an antiviral and antibiotic treatment until they can determine the cause.