Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis may be caused by a physical injury or trauma, a reaction to certain drugs or allergy, or more commonly, infection by certain viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites. This article chiefly focuses on meningitis caused by viral or bacterial infection. Most cases of both viral and bacterial meningitis occur in the first five years of life.
The most common causes of viral meningitis are –
A. Coxsackie viruses
Although herpesviruses, the mumps virus, and many other viruses can also cause the disease.
Viral meningitis is rarely fatal, and most patients recover from the disease completely.
Most cases of bacterial meningitis are caused by one of three species of bacteria –
A. Haemophilus influenzae
B. Streptococcus pneumoniae
C. Neisseria meningitidis.
Many other bacteria, including Escherichia coli and the bacteria that are responsible for tuberculosis and syphilis, can also cause the disease. Bacterial meningitis can be fatal if not treated promptly. Some children who survive the infection are left with permanent neurological impairments, such as hearing loss or learning disabilities.
Many of the microorganisms that cause meningitis are quite common in the environment and are usually harmless. The microorganisms typically enter the body through the respiratory system or, sometimes, through the middle ear or nasal sinuses. Many people carry these bacteria or viruses without having any symptoms at all, while others experience minor, cold like symptoms. Meningitis only develops if these microorganisms enter a patient’s bloodstream and then the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The CSF contains no protective white blood cells to fight infection, so once the microorganisms enter the CSF, they multiply rapidly and make a person sick.
Although the viruses and bacteria that cause meningitis are contagious, not everyone who comes in contact with someone with meningitis will develop the disease. In fact, meningitis typically occurs in isolated cases. Occasionally outbreaks of meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcal meningitis, occur in group-living situations, such as day-care centers, college dormitories, or military barracks. A child whose immune system is weakened -due to a disease or genetic disorder, for instance -is at increased risk for developing meningitis. In general, however, scientists do not know why microorganisms that are usually harmless are able to cross into the CSF and cause meningitis in some people but not others.
III Symptoms and Diagnosis
No matter what the cause, the symptoms of meningitis are always almost similar and usually develop rapidly, often over the course of a few hours. Nearly all patients with meningitis experience vomiting, high fever, and a stiff neck. Meningitis may also cause severe headache, back pain, muscle aches, sensitivity of the eyes to light or photophobia, drowsiness, confusion, and even loss of consciousness. Some children have convulsions. In infants, the symptoms of meningitis are often more difficult to detect and may include irritability, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Most patients with meningococcal meningitis develop a rash of red, pinprick spots on the skin. The spots do not turn white when pressed, and they quickly grow to look like purple bruises.
A lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, to obtain a sample of CSF diagnoses meningitis. The fluid is tested for the presence of bacteria and other cells, as well as certain chemical changes that are characteristic of meningitis.
IV Treatment and Prevention
It is essential to seek immediate medical attention if the symptoms of meningitis develop in order to determine whether the meningitis is viral or bacterial. Any delays in treating bacterial meningitis can lead to stroke, severe brain damage, and even death. Patients with bacterial meningitis are usually hospitalized and given INTENSIVE HOMOEOPATHIC THERAPY. The specific drug used may depend on the bacterium responsible for the infection or on the totality of the symptoms at that particular time and rapidly change in remedy if the totality changes rapidly. This therapy is very effective, and if treatment begins in time, the risk of dying from bacterial meningitis today is very less.
Very good treatment is available for viral meningitis. With bed rest, plenty of fluids, and remedy as per symptoms, most patients recover from viral meningitis within a week or two and suffer no lasting effects.
Good hygiene to prevent the spread of viruses is the only method of preventing viral meningitis. To help prevent the spread of bacterial meningitis, homoeoprophylaxis is sometimes given to family members and other people who have had close contact with patients who develop the disease. Homoeovaccines are also available against some of the bacteria that can cause meningitis.
Haemophilus influenzae 200 once daily may dramatically reduce the number of cases of bacterial meningitis. These vaccines also exist for certain strains of Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae but are not a part of routine immunization. The Neisseria meningitidis 200 may be given to military recruits and people who are planning travel to areas of the world where outbreaks of meningococcal meningitis are common. Streptococcus pneumoniae 200 is recommended for people over age 65.
FARRINGTON – Paralysis – Apis mellifica- It has often been successfully employed in Paralysis following devitalizing affections, such as Diphtheria or Typhoid Fever, and also when meningeal effusions remain after Meningitis. The patient is either nervous, restless and oversensitive, or hot and drowsy, whether thirsty or not.
BORLAND – Children’s types (group v): nervy types – Cina maritima- One is that with their intestinal upsets they become very restless and liable to get meningeal irritation, with constant agitation of the head, rubbing it into the pillow. Even without definite meningitis they tend to develop a squint – an internal squint.
BORLAND – Digestive drugs – Podophyllum peltatum – It is usually associated, in these summer diarrhea, with signs of a certain amount of meningeal irritation, sometimes amounting to no more than a constant rolling of the head from side to side, though there may be actual retraction of the neck. Very commonly, this is associated with a constant chewing motion of the maw, there may be actual grinding of the teeth if the child is a little older; and, not infrequently, there is a definite squint. It is not a true meningitis: on lumbar puncture there may be slightly increased pressure, but no abnormal cerebro-spinal fluid.
BORLAND – Influenzas – Baptisia tinctoria- In a Baptisia influenza with obvious mastoid developing – tenderness and slight blush over the mastoid region – it is astonishing how the case alters completely within two or three hours of giving Baptisia. The patient, from being obviously toxic – so toxic that all the signs of starting meningeal irritation are developing – is equally obviously recovering, as a result of even the first dose of Baptisia. Torments everyone with his complaints.
TYLER – Depressed mentality – Zincum metallicum- “Not the mentally deficient: but the mental enfeeblement of disease.” Brain trouble: spinal meningitis, etc. A great remedy in meningitis and hydrocephalus. Chewing motions: boring head into pillow. Automatic motion of one arm and leg.
TYLER – Some drugs of nephritis – Helleborus niger – Staring: eyes wide open: insensible to light.
TYLER – Some drugs of nephritis – Urtica urens – Burnett’s great remedy for suppression of urine: (5 or 10 drops of the in hot water). (Dramatically verified in the case of a child dying of T.B. meningitis).
Dr. Rajneesh Kumar Sharma
Dr. Rajneesh Kumar SharmaMeningitis :: Homeopathy and Meningitis
by Dr. Rajneesh Kumar Sharma ( Author at Spirit India )
Posted on August 4th, 2003 at 7:08 am.
Last updated on November 14th, 2011 at 12:35 pm.
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