Contact your doctor immediately if you suspect that you or someone you know may have meningitis. If you or a family member, especially a child or older adult, experience any of the symptoms of meningitis, seek medical care immediately. If left untreated, bacterial meningitis can be fatal, or can cause severe disabilities.
Upon admittance to the hospital, if bacterial meningitis is suspected, you will be treated with intravenous antibiotics as quickly as possible. Diagnostic tests will be performed in order to determine the exact bacterial species responsible so that a specific drug regimen can be developed.
If meningitis is confirmed, hospitalization will be required, and may last for several weeks until the infection is entirely cleared from the body.
In addition to antibiotics, intravenous medications for fever, pain, and inflammation may be given. Treatment for shock and seizures may also be needed. Fluids will be given to prevent dehydration.
Treatment for viral meningitis can be done at home. Viral meningitis generally does not require hospitalization, and can be treated at home. Treatment includes bed rest, fluids, and medications to help reduce fever and alleviate pain.
Your doctor is the best source of information on the drug treatment choices available to you.
Family members and others in close contact with the infected person should be monitored by a doctor. If you are in close contact with someone with bacterial meningitis, especially if it is due to Neisseria meningitides, you should be closely monitored by a doctor, as your risk of becoming infected is 500 times that of the general population.Your doctor may give you antibiotics to help prevent you from contracting bacterial meningitis.
With prompt and appropriate treatment, most patients recover from meningitis. If treatment begins promptly, most patients will recover from bacterial meningitis. Drug treatment can last from 7 days to 3 weeks or longer, depending on the severity of the infection.
Bacterial meningitis can be fatal if not treated. Increased mortality is linked to advanced age (older than 60 years of age), onset of seizures during the first 24 hours, and coma. Patients who delay treatment may experience severe disabilities such as deafness, blindness, and/or mental deterioration.
Children who have had bacterial meningitis may experience problems later in life, such as mild deafness, cognitive defects, and emotional problems.
Viral meningitis does not result in permanent damage, and improvement occurs within a few days to weeks.
You should continue to see your doctor until your infection clears. Some patients, especially children, may experience complications and prolonged disease. Therefore, you should continue to see your doctor until the infection resolves. Repeat lumbar punctures are not necessary unless your condition does not improve.
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