Our central nervous system is comprised of the brain and the spinal cord. These highly important structures are wrapped in a protective layer. Any damage to these protections will obviously harm the structures and this can create several serious consequences leading to death.
Spinal meningitis is the infection of the protective layers of the spinal cord. This infection can also spread up to the protective sheaths of the brain and can damage both the master structures, resulting in impaired functions of the CNS.Infection leads to inflammation and prolonged inflammation causes damage to a structure. Spinal meningitis is a case of medical emergency as it can be life-threatening.
Meningitis is usually triggered by viral infections. Next to viral infections, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections are amongst the common causes. But, how do these harmful microorganisms enter the layers despite of such a tight protection and secure internal environment? Well, traumas can serve as a pathway for these harmful creatures.
Any trauma to the skull can give a chance to the nasal bacteria to enter the layer spaces and spread infection. Any prior infection in the area of the head and neck can also give rise to meningitis. Increased risk of meningeal infection occurs in those people who have some cerebral devices such as a cerebral shunt. Rarely, some medicine may be the cause of meningeal infection.
Viral causes of spinal meningitis are quite common and not as severe as bacterial meningitis. They do not cause severe sort of illnesses. Whereas, bacterial meningitis can be lethal as it can damage the brain and eventually can cause death in the patient.
Following are mentioned some symptoms of spinal meningitis. If any of these symptoms are experienced, it is necessary to contact a doctor right away as for preventing serious complications. The symptoms of viral and bacterial meningitis are quite similar and hence, immediate medical attention is required on the onset of symptoms.
This is an important one amongst the symptoms of meningitis. A stiff and a painful neck can indicate some underlying infection in the area.
One may experience these symptoms when trying to move the neck to touch the chin to the chest. Stiffness of neck or nuchal rigidity usually occurs in 70 percent of bacterial meningitis cases in adults.
Sudden onset of fever can be a symptom of spinal meningitis. Inflammation process in the body generally causes high temperature.
Severe headache which occurs along with sudden onset of fever and stiffness in neck can be a symptom of meningitis.
Hence, upon such experience, immediate medical attention is quite necessary.
Nausea and vomiting along with headache are some other symptoms of spinal meningitis.
Besides being the symptom of many other diseases and disorders, a reduced appetite is also a sign of spinal meningitis.
This can also be a symptom of meningitis in children when they refuse to eat or to be fed.
Sleepless nights are another symptom of meningitis. This symptom can be an important indication in children over the age of two and if the parents suspect this symptom in their child along with other mentioned symptoms, then they must not delay to consult a doctor.
With the progress in the disease, the patients of meningitis belonging to any age group can experience seizures.
Irritability can be an important indication to recognize meningitis in children. Babies may become irritated and will cry when held up.
They may also face troubles when breathing.
This symptom can occur in both the infants and the adults.
This is a symptom of meningitis in infants up to 6 months of age.
Identifying the presence of meningitis in infants is a careful task to do. Parents must observe the abnormal signs. An abnormal skin color may also be a symptom of meningitis in infants.
Confusion and changes in mental status can also be a symptom of meningitis. This symptom is usually associated with fungal causes of meningeal infection.
Discomfort when exposed to bright light can be a symptom of meningitis. This is known as photophobia which is usually a symptom of meningitis in adults.
Phonophobia, which means intolerance to loud sounds, can be a symptom of meningitis.
Well, this symptom should be brought into special consideration, although, it is less common. If it is ignored, can lead to gangrene and eventually will result in amputation of one or more and maybe all limbs, if affected.
The rash looks more like a bruise. This characteristic usually occurs in the case of meningococcus meningitis or Neisserria meningitidis.