Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges.
Viral meningitis is not very serious and usually does not require treatment. On the other hand, bacterial meningitis can be very severe and life-threatening.
The most common symptoms are fever, headache and neck stiffness.
Other symptoms include confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises.
Meningitis can be caused by a virus, bacteria, fungus, parasites or non-infectious agents. Viral and bacterial meningitis are the most common types.
It requires urgent medical attention and if an affected person is not promptly attended to, serious complications including death can occur.
Lately, there has been a high incidence of meningitis in Nigeria. Over a thousand people, mostly children, have been reported dead.
Meningitis can affect anyone. Common microorganisms that cause meningitis are spread easily through sneezing, coughing, sharing eating utensils or toothbrush and kissing.
Here are ways you can protect yourself:
- Wash your hands regularly. A lot of germs are spread through the hands. By ensuring that you maintain a good hand hygiene, you significantly reduce your risk of falling sick
- Don’t share spoons or forks with anyone. Do not share drinking straws, toothbrushes, lip balms or lipsticks.
- Eat fruits and vegetables daily, sleep well and exercise regularly. These would strengthen your immune system, making it harder for these harmful microorganism to have their way in your body.
- Be careful where you eat and what you eat. Buy foods only from hygienic environments. Maintain strict hygiene with food preparation and don’t forget to always cook your meats very well before you eat them.
- Get the vaccine. Meningococcal vaccine refers to any of the vaccines used to prevent infection by Neisseria meningitides. Go to any hospital around you and get the vaccine now.
Written by Oluwatoyin Adeleye