Importance of Correct Diagnosis in Bacterial Meningitis Treatment

The very word meningitis can be enough to make a person’s blood run cold, due to the fact that this disease affects the brain and can be fatal if not treated in a timely and effective manner. Meningitis treatment depends upon the age of the person who has contracted it, the kind of bacteria that is responsible for causing the condition, the severity of the infection and complications that accompany it.

It is bacterial meningitis rather than viral meningitis that can be dangerous and which should receive emergency attention. Early diagnosis is of vital importance so that meningitis treatment can be started off as soon as possible.

Since meningitis is the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, severe headache is always the first and most significant symptom followed by stiffness or rigidity of the neck and fever and in about half the cases there could be altered mental state.

To determine what meningitis treatment is to be initiated, a spinal tap or lumbar puncture may be required to be performed to confirm that it is in fact meningitis – here cerebrospinal fluid is collected and its properties examined for a correct diagnosis.

While viral meningitis can be treated at home, when diagnosis of bacterial meningitis is confirmed, the person may be placed in isolation to avoid infecting others and then meningitis treatment is started as soon as possible –

  • Antibiotics are one of the first meningitis treatment options when bacterial meningitis is confirmed. The antibiotics may be administered though intravenous drip.
  • The second line of meningitis treatment involves trying to reduce the swelling and pressure on the brain – this is usually done by giving corticosteroid medications such as dexamethosone to reduce this pressure.
  • Fever is one of the common symptoms of meningitis, and analgesics to bring down the fever are also typically prescribed. Other measures such as proper ventilation and adequate fluid intake can also form part of meningitis treatment to reduce the fever. Even otherwise, fluid intake can be increased as part of meningitis treatment since the body needs more fluid to fight infection.
  • Preventing and treating seizures is another part of meningitis treatment since seizures could also be present in some cases.
  • For some cases oxygen therapy is also indicated, however in severe cases, oxygen could be administered through a tube that goes down into the throat from the mouth.
  • Frequent blood tests to monitor the infection also form a part of meningitis treatment.