In this winter season, viral diseases are the order of the day, so doctors and experts recommend taking the appropriate precautions to avoid the spread of viral diseases, from a simple cold to deadly meningitis.
Although the latter is less common than the flu, its effects can cause irreversible damage. There are several types of meningitis, but the most common is viral meningitis, which occurs when a virus enters the body through the nose or mouth and travels to the brain. People with weak immune systems are more likely to develop this disease, which quickly worsens to death.
Symptoms to consider include: a sudden fever, severe headache, stiff neck, and unstoppable nausea and vomiting. Meningitis can also be caused by drug allergies, irritation, chemistry, parasites, and tumors, among other causes.
Although bacterial meningitis is rare, it can be deadly, since bacteria that cause flu-like infections can cause a stroke and damage vital organs.
According to the National Meningitis Association, about a thousand people in the United States contract meningitis each year. Between 10 and 15 percent lose their lives. One in five survivors face permanent disabilities, such as brain damage, hearing loss, limb amputations, and kidney problems.
More than 20 percent of cases affect adolescents and young adults between the ages of 11 and 24.
Early treatment helps prevent further complications from meningitis, which can be diagnosed through a blood test and treated with antibiotics and appropriate vaccines.
For more information, contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: (800) 232-6348.
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