Meningitis is more than a pain in the neck. If you or a loved one are experiencing the telltale symptoms – stiff neck, headache, fever, nausea and confusion – it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Delaying treatment could be fatal.
“Meningitis can be viral or bacterial, but either way, it is serious – possibly fatal,” says Erica E. Gibson, MD, family practice physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “The infection causes the meninges – the protective membranes in the brain and spinal cord – to become inflamed, which puts the brain and spine at risk for further damage.”
Meningitis spreads through oral and respiratory droplets, which sometimes leads to outbreaks at universities, day care centers and other places where people live and work in close proximity to one another. Vaccinations can prevent meningitis, and antibiotics can treat it.