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Early diagnosis and treatment are vital for a person to survive bacterial meningitis and not suffer long-term health effects. So it is very important to watch out for symptoms.
The most common warning signs, which could vary from person to person, are as follows:
- High temperature and severe headaches
- Neck stiffness
- A dislike of bright lights
- Joint pains
- A purple rash that will not turn white when pressed
Meningitis in adults: Bacterial meningitis can occur for a number of reasons. Often, it is the result of an infection by bacteria that already live in the nose and mouth. The bacteria enter the blood and become lodged in the brain's outer covering, the meninges. Meningitis can also be caused by the spread of an infection occurring near the brain, such as from the ears or the sinuses. It is also an occasional complication of brain, head, or neck surgery. The average age for meningitis is 25 years. It affects both men and women equally.
Meningitis in children: The highest incidence of meningitis is between birth and 2 years, with the greatest risk immediately following birth and at three to eight months. Increased exposure to infections and underlying immune system problems present at birth increase a child's risk of meningitis. Newborns and young infants may not have the classic signs and symptoms of headache and stiff neck. Instead, they may cry constantly, seem unusually sleepy or irritable, and eat poorly. Sometimes the soft spots on an infant's head may bulge.
However, irrespective of whether it is an adult or child, delaying the treatment of bacterial meningitis increases the risk of permanent brain damage. Also, the disease can prove fatal in a matter of days. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is absolutely essential for those afflicted with bacterial meningitis.