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Treatment for Bacterial Meningitis

treatment for bacterial meningitis

Diagnosis and treatment of bacterial meningitis is crucial.

If you suspect bacterial meningitis it is advisable to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. If you have bacterial or fungal meningitis, you might be admitted to the intensive-care unit, for either a short period of examination or a longer period if your condition proves to be more serious. Treatment of bacterial meningitis starts by ensuring that both your breathing and blood pressure are satisfactory.

If the diagnosis is doubtful, or if you have in recent times been on antibiotics, you might be admitted to the hospital for examination and treatment until the diagnosis is certain. This may involve another lumbar punch in 12-24 hours for re-evaluation (this should be done quicker if the patient’s condition deteriorates).

If you appear to have bacterial meningitis, treatment usually includes:

  • Fluids given through an IV (intravenous) line inserted.
  • A heart monitor might be used to observe heart rhythm.
  • Antibiotics may be given intravenous.
  • To decrease the severity of bacterial meningitis steroids may be given.

Depending on the severity of the disease you can expect:

  • Steroids and more aggressive medicine might be given if you are exceptionally ill.
  • If you experience difficulty with breathing, a tube (intubation) may be inserted to assist with breathing or oxygen through a face mask.
  • Medication to improve blood pressure and stop seizures.
  • In severe cases of the disease the insertion of larger IV lines in the groin, the chest, or the neck is not uncommon.
  • A catheter can be placed in the bladder to monitor your hydration.

Complications which may occur and treatment thereof:

  • Hypotension (abnormally low blood pressure ) or shock
  • Hypoxemia (an abnormally low concentration of oxygen in the blood)
  • Hyponatremia (the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low)
  • Stroke (occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced)
  • Exacerbation (increase in the severity of the infection) of chronic diseases

In cases of shock, crystalloid will be infused until euvolemia (the presence of the proper amount of blood in the body) is achieved. If the patient’s psychological status is distorted, seizure precautions will be taken. These seizures treatments are done according to usual protocol and airway protection will be considered.

Indications of hydrocephalus (a condition in which fluid accumulates in the brain) and increasing intracranial pressure will be monitored.

Fever and pain management is a vital part of the treatment.

In otherwise stable patients, satisfactory care includes elevating the head and monitoring neurologic condition.

It is recommended that people with bacterial meningitis receive treatment in a hospital for a few days, and in more severe cases, treatment might be required for several weeks. Further treatment and long-term support may also be necessary if any complications of bacterial meningitis occur, such as hearing loss and brain damage. After being discharged from hospital it could be a while before you feel completely back to normal.

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