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The Difference Between Viral and Bacterial Meningitis

Viral meningitis is more common than bacterial meningitis and will usually clear up within seven to ten days without any treatment necessary. However, bacterial meningitis is more serious and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Bacteria known as meningococcus, pneumococcus and haemophilus influenza type B are the cause for most cases of bacterial meningitis. Other examples of bacteria causing meningitis are e-coli, group B strep and tuberculosis. With more parents vaccinating their children, the chances of contracting Hib meningitis are now rare as well as the contraction of pneumococcal meningitis.

The Difference Between Viral and Bacterial Meningitis

Symptoms Of Meningitis

Symptoms are similar to flu symptoms, but it’s vital to take your child to the doctor when he has any of these signs presenting themselves:

  • A stiff neck
  • Diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • High fever
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Rash
  • Loss of appetite

Prevention of Meningitis

One of the most predominant ways to prevent meningitis, particularly meningococcus, is by having your child vaccinated as vaccines prepare the immune system by introducing the body to live but weakened germs of the disease to help the body to fight infection when it occurs. Vaccines against measles mumps rubella (MMR) and chickenpox provide children with protection against encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis which are caused by these viruses.

For Viral meningitis however, there is no effective remedy against prevention but you can protect your child by washing their hands regularly, keeping surfaces at home and school clean at all times.

Also, in general, children contract the infection with bacteria moving from the nose and throat and invading the body. Symptoms start appearing within five days. That’s why it is essential to teach your child from an early age to always keep her hand in front of her mouth when sneezing or coughing to prevent the spreading of bacteria.

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