Bacterial Meningitis
What is Bacterial Meningitis ?

Infections can happen anywhere in the body, even in the brain. The brain has a thin layer on the outside called the meninges.

lateral view of brain and spinal cord
When the meninges get infected, they swell. This is called bacterial meningitis.  This is bad because there is not enough space inside of your head when this thin layer gets bigger. This puts pressure on your brain and causes problems.

Tactile graphic of health brain on left and brain infected with meningitis on right

What Are The  Symptoms? 

If you are sick with meningitis, you may have:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Throwing up
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Pains
  • Tiredness

graphic illustrates symptoms
Many people do not survive, but the ones who live may have:

  • Brain damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Kidney failure
  • Loss of arms or legs
How is Bacterial Meningitis Treated?

Antibiotics are the special medicines used for this sickness. There are a few different types and your doctor will choose the right one for you.

Who Else Should See A Doctor?

If you are near someone sick with meningitis you should see your doctor. This includes people who live together or touch each other often. The doctor will usually give them medicine just to keep them from getting sick.

Can Bacterial Meningitis Be Prevented?

It can be spread by someone who does not wash their hands after sneezing, coughing, or eating. Handwashing and covering your cough/ sneeze are good ways to stop the spread of meningitis. There are two vaccines – which are shots – that are given in the arm. Both are safe and work well. After the shot you may feel and see redness in that area for two days.

cartoon character holds needle

Who Should Get The Vaccine?

If you’re in middle school, high school, or college, you should get the vaccine. Also, if you travel or if you have certain illnesses, you should ask your doctor. You should get the vaccine again every 3-5 years.

How Do I Learn More?

Download Meningitis brochure – Word format
Download Meningitis brochure – PDF format

Section created by Jasmine Lyons 2017.5