Bacterial Meningitis Treatment

By: Dzhingarov

Bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency requiring urgent diagnosis and treatment, and symptoms include fever, headaches and stiff neck (in people over two years of age). Newborns and infants may exhibit less severe signs, such as irritability and discomfort at bright lights.

Healthcare providers use spinal tap or lumbar puncture procedures to obtain samples of spinal fluid for testing for bacteria. Most people who receive prompt care typically make full recoveries, although some may experience long-term issues.


Early diagnosis and treatment for bacterial meningitis allows antibiotics to be utilized effectively. Most individuals recover fully; however, complications may arise. Hospital treatment or intensive care unit care may even be required in extreme cases. Seeking immediate medical care is key in order to stop further spread and find suitable remedies for every individual affected.

People diagnosed with bacterial meningitis typically need to stay in hospital for 8-11 days; they may require further hospitalization if complications such as severe sepsis or blood clots in their legs (deep vein thrombosis) arise. Some children and adults over 60 years old with meningitis have an increased risk of death; this disease could even progress rapidly enough that coma ensues within hours.

Doctors must quickly diagnose bacterial meningitis to provide treatment before it infiltrates the brain. A lumbar puncture, also called spinal tap, will often be performed to collect samples of fluid surrounding the brain and spine that can reveal whether inflammation is due to viruses or bacteria; and testing the fluid will reveal which kind of bacteria cause meningitis and which antibiotics would provide maximum effectiveness against it.

The doctor will prescribe antibiotics based on several factors, including patient age, previous medical history and initial test results. They may adjust or change them if initial ones don’t seem effective or the infection worsens; otherwise they may drain infected sinuses or mastoids (small bones behind ears) for drainage; prescribe pain-relief medicine and fever reducers; as well as treating any associated seizures or shock symptoms associated with the illness.

Most patients suffering from viral meningitis recover within 7-10 days and do not require antibiotics to get well. People exposed to someone with bacterial meningitis may be at increased risk and should visit their physician promptly if any symptoms arise, including household members, school and workmates and close friends who might have come in close contact. Furthermore, vaccines exist against specific strains of bacterial meningitis.


Bacterial meningitis can be life-threatening if left untreated quickly. If you suspect you or your child has bacterial meningitis, seek medical assistance immediately by consulting a physician who will ask questions and do a physical exam. If your child is very ill, their doctor may perform a spinal tap (also known as lumbar puncture) in order to obtain fluid from around the spinal cord and test for any bacteria causing meningitis. Doctors may drain infected sinuses or mastoids – the bones behind outer ears connecting with the middle ear – as well as prescribe general antibiotics through needle placement into veins (usually arm or hand veins). Antibiotics may reduce swelling while helping prevent complications like brain damage and seizures.

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Meningitis-causing bacteria include group B streptococci, Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria meningitides and Staphylococcus aureus as well as viruses such as herpes simplex virus and enteroviruses; they can spread from person to person by coughing/sneezing/kissing close quarters as well as through contaminated food such as Listeria (which causes Listeriosis) or E coli contamination or by coming in contact with sick animals carrying it.

People of all ages are susceptible to bacterial meningitis. Infants, in particular, are at increased risk for group B streptococci and Haemophilus influenzae meningitis. Other risk factors for bacterial meningitis may include living in dormitories or barracks for college or military service, having certain medical conditions, recent surgery or taking immune-suppressing drugs.

Most patients who suffer bacterial meningitis eventually make a full recovery; however, some suffer long-term disabilities including brain damage and hearing loss that can be avoided through treating with antibiotics and receiving vaccination against Haemophilus influenzae and pneumococcus bacteria.


Meningitis can be easily prevented with vaccination. Children aged 11-12 should get a meningitis vaccine at school; adults can consult their physician about receiving a booster shot to protect against multiple strains of bacteria that cause meningitis. Washing hands frequently and covering your nose or mouth when coughing or sneezing will also lower your risk.

With prompt treatment, most people who contract bacterial meningitis will return to normal lives within a matter of weeks or months. Unfortunately, however, a small minority may develop long-term issues including deafness, brain damage, blindness and disability that require ongoing support services for life.

People suffering from bacterial meningitis should seek medical treatment immediately and must visit a hospital or health centre because their symptoms are so serious. They might need to stay for weeks in hospital and must likely be isolated to avoid spreading their illness to others. They’ll likely receive antibiotics that cross the blood-brain barrier and kill bacteria; corticosteroids could help ease swelling in their brain, while anticonvulsants could be administered for seizure control.

Meningitis can be caused by various strains of bacteria. Examples include:

Streptococcus, especially group B streptococcus; Haemophilus influenzae causing type b (Hib) meningitis in infants; Neisseria meningitidis being responsible for most cases of bacterial meningitis; Listeria monocytogenes often infecting pregnant women leading to miscarriage, stillbirth or preterm delivery; and Cryptococcus can be the source of fungal meningitis when someone’s immune system is compromised.

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Some bacteria can produce a skin rash that helps doctors diagnose an illness. An inflamed area that doesn’t fade when pressed with a glass could indicate bacterial meningitis; other symptoms may include stiff neck, fever and headache, vomiting confusion and bulge on top of baby head in cases of meningococcal meningitis; infection with this particular bacterium could even lead to sepsis – the body’s extreme response to an infection which may result in organ failure and even death!


People affected by bacterial meningitis may exhibit fever, headache and stiff neck symptoms as well as a skin rash consisting of tiny spots or larger splotches of reddish purple that typically appears on cheeks and chest but may spread elsewhere on their bodies. Sometimes bloodstream bacteria become infected leading to serious bleeding as well as shock; this requires immediate medical treatment with antibiotics in order to survive; otherwise it could prove fatal.

In cases of severe bacterial meningitis, hospitalization will likely be required in an intensive care unit to complete their course of antibiotics and stay there until all seizures have resolved; those experiencing shock from meningitis may receive fluids and medications to increase blood pressure.

Bacterial meningitis symptoms vary for infants and adults. When infecting babies, symptoms might include being difficult or difficult to wake up from sleeping; experiencing high-pitched crying; difficulty feeding properly and developing reddish purple rashes on their faces with bulging fontanelles on their heads (soft spots on the head). With early treatment however, symptoms could go away.

Adults diagnosed with bacterial meningitis often experience stiff neck, headache, fever and confusion; backache and sore throat symptoms can also arise. Left untreated, this infection could result in stroke or seizures; its spread to lungs could even lead to pneumonia; some sufferers lose consciousness and die due to it.

Bacterial meningitis can be avoided through vaccination against bacteria that typically cause it, including haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), Meningocococcus serogroups A-Y and pneumococcus. Such vaccines should be given routinely to children, adolescents, and college students.

Most patients recovering from bacterial meningitis make full recoveries and return to normal activities; however, long-term issues may develop; it’s essential that after leaving hospital care you work closely with your primary care doctor in order to screen for any potential issues that might develop later on.