The diagnosis and treatment of meningitis
What are the signs and symptoms of meningitis?
Some of the common signs and symptoms of meningitis include:
- vomiting and nausea
- lethargy or altered mental state
- refusing food and drink
- breathing difficulties
- stiff neck
- an aversion to bright light.
What is the correct treatment for suspected meningitis?
If meningitis is suspected, a number of tests are usually performed to include blood tests to look for markers of inflammation in the blood and a lumbar puncture which involves taking some fluid from around the spine, to test the fluid for bacteria, viruses and markers of inflammation.
Intravenous antibiotics should be administered without delay and if viral meningitis is suspected then antivirals should also be given. Once the cause of the meningitis is confirmed then more specific antibiotics and antivirals can be administered.
Corticosteroids should be given for suspected or confirmed bacterial meningitis if the results of the lumbar puncture reveal raised inflammatory markers or the presence of bacteria.