Dr. Donald Skinner, family medicine physician, took some time to discuss what meningitis is and how it affects people.
“Meningitis is inflammation and usually infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord,” said Dr. Skinner. “As in most infections the young and elderly are at greatest risk but the type the college students get is common in young adults.”
The form most common among college students is bacterial and called neissaria mengititis. People usually contract meningitis from others, “usually from infected droplets from coughing or sneezing,” said Dr. Skinner.
Symptoms vary. Those who are severely ill have symptoms including:
- Stiff Neck
- Light bothers eyes (photophobia)
- Noise bothers ears (phonophotia)
There is a shot to prevent the form of meningitis that affects college students and young adults (neissaria mengitidis). However, other types of meningitis are viral.
“There is no prevention for the viral forms except to cover your face when you cough or sneeze and good hand washing,” said Dr. Skinner.
If you or someone you know has symptoms of meningitis, seek medical care right away. Early treatment can prevent serious complications. For more information please contact your McFarland Clinic primary care provider.