Pediatricians warn of the danger of meningitis

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One danger to children pediatricians warn of, that many parents in Gastonia, NC worry less about, is the danger of meningitis. Those most in danger of meningitis include infants under one year old and people between the ages of 16 and 23.

Worldwide, there were 8.7 million cases of meningitis in 2015, and 379,000 deaths. There is no one specific organism that causes this disease. The term “meningitis” simply refers to the inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord. This can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi or other things. Viral meningitis is the most common type, but bacterial meningitis is the most serious. Because this disease strikes so close to such a vital area, any case of meningitis is considered a medical emergency, no matter the cause.

Even the tests for meningitis can be dangerous. The most certain test involves a lumbar puncture, a way of withdrawing cerebrospinal fluid. This can detect meningitis and indicate the cause. But if a patient is suffering from high intracranial pressure, this is a bad idea.

The symptoms and the vaccines

In nine out of ten cases, the symptoms of meningitis in older patients begin with painful headaches. Neck stiffness follows afterward in seven out of ten cases. Other common symptoms are listlessness, irritability, sensitivity to light and noise and skin rashes.

The sickness is harder to spot in infants. Their symptoms are less obvious, except in cases where a bulge forms on top of the baby’s head. Often it simply appears as a form of crankiness which doesn’t go away when you try to comfort the baby. There may also be jaundice and a slightly lowered temperature.

Viral meningitis in children lasts seven to ten days, and the symptoms can be alleviated at home with rest, fluids and pain medicine. Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, calls for hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.

There are vaccines that work against the most common forms of bacterial meningitis. The meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against four types of bacteria, and is recommended. The meningococcal B vaccine protects against meningococcal bacterium type B. Ask your pediatrician if this vaccine is a good idea for your teenage son or daughter.

Pediatricians in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a center for pediatric medicine conveniently located west of Charlotte, NC. It is one of the first medical practices for children in the Gastonia area, has served three generations of families with personalized care and offers medical advice for parents 24 hours a day. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. Gastonia Pediatrics is owned and directed by its own physicians. If your family needs a pediatrician, call today.