Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord.
The swelling from meningitis typically triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck.
Most cases of meningitis  are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial and fungal infections are other causes. Some cases of meningitis improve without treatment in a few weeks. Others can be life-threatening and require emergent antibiotic treatment.
Seek immediate medical care if you suspect that someone has meningitis. Early treatment of bacterial meningitis can prevent serious complications.
Causes-Viral infections are the most common cause of meningitis, followed by bacterial infections and, rarely, fungal infections. Because bacterial infections can be life-threatening, identifying the cause is essential.
Bacterial meningitis
Bacteria that enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain and spinal cord cause acute bacterial meningitis. But it can also occur when bacteria directly invade the meninges. This may be caused by an ear or sinus infection, a skull fracture, or, rarely, after some surgeries.
Several strains of bacteria can cause acute bacterial meningitis, most commonly:
Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). This bacterium is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in infants, young children and adults in the United States. It more commonly causes pneumonia or ear or sinus infections. A vaccine can help prevent this infection.
Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus). This bacterium is another leading cause of bacterial meningitis. These bacteria commonly cause an upper respiratory infection but can cause meningococcal meningitis when they enter the bloodstream. This is a highly contagious infection that affects mainly teenagers and young adults. It may cause local epidemics in college dormitories, boarding schools and military bases. A vaccine can help prevent infection.
Haemophilus influenzae (haemophilus). Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) bacterium was once the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children. But new Hib vaccines have greatly reduced the number of cases of this type of meningitis.
Listeria monocytogenes (listeria). These bacteria can be found in unpasteurized cheeses, hot dogs and luncheon meats. Pregnant women, newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are most susceptible. Listeria can cross the placental barrier, and infections in late pregnancy may be fatal to the baby.


Viral meningitis

Viral meningitis is usually mild and often clears on its own. Most cases in the United States are caused by a group of viruses known as enteroviruses, which are most common in late summer and early fall. Viruses such as herpes simplex virus, HIV, mumps, West Nile virus and others also can cause viral meningitis.

Chronic meningitis

Slow-growing organisms (such as fungi and Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that invade the membranes and fluid surrounding your brain cause chronic meningitis. Chronic meningitis develops over two weeks or more. The symptoms of chronic meningitis — headaches, fever, vomiting and mental cloudiness — are similar to those of acute meningitis.

Fungal meningitis

Fungal meningitis is relatively uncommon and causes chronic meningitis. It may mimic acute bacterial meningitis. Fungal meningitis isn't contagious from person to person. Cryptococcal meningitis is a common fungal form of the disease that affects people with immune deficiencies, such as AIDS. It's life-threatening if not treated with an antifungal medication.

Other meningitis causes

Meningitis can also result from noninfectious causes, such as chemical reactions, drug allergies, some types of cancer and inflammatory diseases such as sarcoidosis
Symptoms-Early meningitis symptoms may mimic the flu (influenza). Symptoms may develop over several hours or over a few days.
Possible signs and symptoms in anyone older than the age of 2 include:
·         Sudden high fever
·         Stiff neck
·         Severe headache that seems different than normal
·         Headache with nausea or vomiting
·         Confusion or difficulty concentrating
·         Seizures
·         Sleepiness or difficulty waking
·         Sensitivity to light
·         No appetite or thirst
·         Skin rash (sometimes, such as in meningococcal meningitis)

Signs in newborns

Newborns and infants may show these signs:
·         High fever
·         Constant crying
·         Excessive sleepiness or irritability
·         Inactivity or sluggishness
·         Poor feeding
·         A bulge in the soft spot on top of a baby's head (fontanel)
·         Stiffness in a baby's body and neck
Infants with meningitis may be difficult to comfort, and may even cry harder when held.
Risk factors-Risk factors for meningitis include:
Skipping vaccinations. Risk rises for anyone who hasn't completed the recommended childhood or adult vaccination schedule.
Age. Most cases of viral meningitis occur in children younger than age 5. Bacterial meningitis is common in those under age 20.
Living in a community setting. College students living in dormitories, personnel on military bases, and children in boarding schools and child care facilities are at greater risk of meningococcal meningitis. This is probably because the bacterium is spread by the respiratory route, and spreads quickly through large groups.
Pregnancy. Pregnancy increases the risk of listeriosis — an infection caused by listeria bacteria, which also may cause meningitis. Listeriosis increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature delivery.
Compromised immune system. AIDS, alcoholism, diabetes, use of immunosuppressant drugs and other factors that affect your immune system also make you more susceptible to meningitis. Having your spleen removed also increases your risk, and patients without a spleen should get vaccinated to minimize that risk.
Complications--Meningitis complications can be severe. The longer you or your child has the disease without treatment, the greater the risk of seizures and permanent neurological damage, including:
·         Hearing loss
·         Memory difficulty
·         Learning disabilities
·         Brain damage
·         Gait problems
·         Seizures
·         Kidney failure
·         Shock
·         Death
With prompt treatment, even patients with severe meningitis can have good recovery.
Well selected Homoeopathic remedies are effective for the management of meningitis. Some of the important remedies are given below.

BELLADONNA 200-Belladonna is one of the top remedies for meningitis and it is suitable for simple meningitis not the tubercular form. Belladonna is effective in the initial stages where  there is violent delirium, high temperature ,   bright red face  and having strong pulse. There is violent headache, which is throbbing and hammering in nature.  The pain is worse from light, noise, jar, lying down and in afternoon, better by pressure and sitting in a semi erect position. There is fullness , especially in forehead and also occiput and temples.  Mentally the person fights to escape some imaginary objects and the drowsiness broken at times when the patient outcries as if frightened.  Other features are blood shot eyes, throbbing of carotids, sensitiveness to light and noise, grinds teeth etc. The pulse is rapid and bounding.

BRYONIA ALBA 200- Bryonia is another effective medicine for meningitis , it follows well after Belladonna. It should be given when Belladonna has reduced the temperature and slowed down the pulse. Bryonia also have high fever with copious sweats. There severe headache , which is bursting and splitting type , as if everything would be pressed out. The headache is  worse from motion , when rising up and better from complete rest and when lying down. There is a benumbed sensation, stiffness of neck and stupid looks. The person has intense thirst for large quantities of cold water in large quantities. The person has a white tongue, abdomen is distended,  and usually constipated. Bryonia is better suited for rheumatic patients.

APIS MELLIFICA  30- Apis mellifica is excellent for tubercular meningitis, spinal meningitis with collection of fluid in tissues and cavities of the body. There is acute cerebral effusion due to suppressed or undeveloped eruption. There is heat , stabbing burning pains like the sting of a bee, the child puts its hand to its head or bores head into pillow and cries,  pains, better by pressure and worse by motion. The patient cries in sleep with shrill. Apis patients have a  thirst less  nature. There is a sore feeling in stomach and the urine is scanty. Apis is suited to psoric and allergic constitutions.

HELLEBORUS 200- Helleborus is best for later stages of meningitis with wrinkled forehead, pupils dilated, lower jaw tends to drop and there is automatic motion of one arm and one leg. There is shooting headache, sudden crying out, screaming, boring head into the pillow. There is cold sweat on forehead. The patient is greedy to take water and he catches the spoon when water in put in his mouth. There is complete unconsciousness , complete or partial stupor, sluggishness. Helleborous is best for tubercular meningitis.

ZINCUM METALLICUM 200-Zincum met is suitable for sub acute form, especially tubercular and due to suppressed eruptions.It is suitable to anemic children prone to develop eruptions. The child awakes with fear, rolls his head, cries out and startles in sleep.

CUPRUM METALLICUM 200- Cuprum met is effective when there are  convulsions resembling epilepsy. There is loud screaming followed by violent convulsions , the thumbs are clenched , face pale with blue lips, the eye balls are constantly rotating.

CICUTA VIROSA 200- Cicuta virosa is best for meningitis with convulsions. There are frightful distortions of limbs and whole body with loss of consciousness and opisthotonos.It is renewed by slightest touch, noise or jerk.  There is a craving for charcoal and other indigestible things. Cicuta is effective for tubercular meningitis.

VERATRUM VIRIDE 200- Veratrum viride is best for rapid onset condition with intense fever, twitching , especially during sleep. There is coldness of the body, loss of consciousness, dilated pupils. Convulsions with intense cerebral congestion. Violent rapidly occurring headache may occur, with a bursting , congested sensation in the head, as if it contains too much blood. The pulse is slow and irregular. There is a tendency to convulsions followed by prostration.

TUBERCULINUM 200-Tuberculinum should be considered in the commencement of treatment. It is a constitutional remedy and prevents as well as cures tubercular meningitis .

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