Tuesday 24th April marks World Meningitis Day. This is an annual event which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of all forms of meningitis. The theme for this year is #AllMeningitisMatters and the campaign will focus the different causes and the vaccines that can help protect against strains of the virus.
What is meningitis?
Meningitis is an inflammation or infection of protective membranes that surround the spinal cord and brain. There are three main types, bacterial, viral and fungal and millions of people each year are affected. Infection is the most common cause of meningitis. It’s caused by different germs; viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.
Bacterial meningitis is the most severe form and causes around 170,000 deaths globally every year. Even when diagnosed and treated early, an estimated 10 to 20 per cent of patients will die within 24 to 48 hours, and between 10 to 30 percent will be left with some form of disability or permanent damage. This includes hearing loss, amputations and epilepsy. So it is really important to seek medical help early to allow treatment of meningitis to minimise the risk of these adverse outcomes. It is just as important to immunise those at risk from meningitis to prevent its occurrence where possible.
Those most at risk are infants, children under five and adolescents between 15 and 19 years of age, although meningitis can affect anyone.
What are the symptoms?
It’s extremely important to know the symptoms of meningitis as, at first, they can be hard to recognise and appear similar to a common flu virus. There are many, but the key symptoms are vomiting, headache, fever, rash, stiff neck, drowsiness and sensitivity to light. They may not appear in any particular order but if you have concerns you should seek medical treatment immediately. One of our other GPs will be writing about this in more detail so check the blogs for information.
How can it be prevented?
Vaccinations can protect against certain causes of meningitis. Available vaccinations will protect against the three major types of meningitis, meningococcal disease, pneumococcal meningitis and haemophilus influenzae type B. Research suggests that current available vaccinations could prevent up to 90 percent of bacterial meningitis cases.
How can Pinches help?
Here at Pinches we offer a full vaccination service for adults and children of any age. Appointments can be booked to suit your convenience and our team can answer any questions you may have regarding meningitis.
For more information click here or to book an appointment call our reception team on 01625 704777