What is Meningitis and Should I Be Concerned?

If you’ve seen the news recently you may have heard about a Meningitis outbreak here in Nashville, Tennessee.  Reports indicate that 14 people contracted the virus, 13 of which had recently received steroid shots.  The patients ranged in age from late 40s to early 80s.  A few days after this report surfaced it was determined that Meningitis had struck in a Williamson County school just outside of Nashville.

What is Meningitis?

For those of you not familiar with Meningitis, it is a very serious disease that affects the lining of the brain and the central nervous system.   It causes inflammation in the areas surrounding the spinal cord and brain.  Meningitis can be life threatening and should be considered a medical emergency.  Don’t mess around with this disease.  If you think you might have it or have come in contact with someone that has, go see a doctor immediately!

How Do I Know If I have It?

To be certain you would need to have tests performed which include extracting spinal fluid from your spinal cord.  Some symptoms associated with Meningitis are headache,  stiffness in the neck, fever, confusion, vomiting, sensitivity to light and loud noises.   If you don’t have all three of the following symptoms then you probably don’t have Meningitis (severely stiff neck, high fever, and altered state of mind).

Are There Different Types of Meningitis?

Yes.  There are 4 main types of Meningitis.

Viral Meningitis is probably the most common type.  It is caused by a viral infection.  Much like contracting a stomach virus the same process occurs for contracting Viral Meningitis.  You can also get it from the mumps, chicken pox, or herpes.

Bacterial Meningitis is a serious type.  This version can cause death or permanent damage.  It is spread by bacteria from person to person.  Some healthy people could carry the disease and not suffer the effects but transmit it to others.  The good news is that this contagious version of Meningitis isn’t as contagious as other viruses such as the flu.

Fungal Meningitis is transmitted by an infection from yeast.  It’s often found in soil and is usually not harmful to healthy adults.

Amoebic Meningitis is caused by a microorganism found in lakes, ponds, dirty pools, and rivers.  This form is usually not contagious but is the most deadly.  It usually enters the body through the nose.  It’s a very form of Meningitis but as I stated usually ends in death.

 

If you think you may have a form of Meningitis don’t wait to see a doctor.  If you need a doctor in Nashvlle, TN to check out your symptoms feel free to contact our office for an appointment.

Here’s to Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett