Tips for Parents
Meningitis: The Facts
What is meningitis?
What is the difference between bacterial and viral meningitis?
Viral Meningitis is relatively common and far less serious than bacterial meningitis. It often remains undiagnosed because its symptoms are similar to those of the common flu. The frequency of viral meningitis increases slightly in the summer and fall months because people are more often exposed to common viral agents during those seasons.
Bacterial Meningitis occurs in people of all ages but is more common in the very young (infants and young children) and the elderly (people above age 60). Teenagers and college students are also slightly more at risk for the disease because of time spent in close contact with many of their peers. Bacterial meningitis is less common than viral meningitis but is usually much more serious and can be life-threatening, if not treated promptly.
If your student notices potential symptoms of meningitis, if symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment, or if he thinks he has been exposed to someone with meningitis, he should go to the campus health center immediately. Meningitis can quickly become life-threatening and it's not worth taking any chances.
How is meningitis treated?
Antibiotics are prescribed and given by an IV (intravenous line). Other medicines may be used to treat the complications due to increased spinal fluid pressure.
Some information was adapted from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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