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  • Question 1/10

    Meningitis is swelling around which part of your body?

  • Answer 1/10

    Meningitis is swelling around which part of your body?

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    • Correct Answer:

    Your brain and spinal cord are covered in protective tissues called meninges. When they get inflamed, you have meningitis. It’s usually caused by an infection of viruses, bacteria, or fungi in the fluid around the brain and spinal cord. Sometimes injuries, cancer, or drugs can cause it.

  • Question 1/10

    The early signs of meningitis can look like:

  • Answer 1/10

    The early signs of meningitis can look like:

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    Symptoms can start a short time after your child has had a cold, diarrhea, or other signs of an infection. They may come on quickly or appear over a few days. Early signs include:

    • A stiff neck
    • Severe headache, especially with vomiting
    • High fever
    • Confusion
    • Sensitivity to light

    Symptoms that may occur later can be a rash, trouble waking up, or seizures. Get medical help right away if your child has any of these symptoms.

  • Question 1/10

    What causes most cases of meningitis in the U.S.?

  • Answer 1/10

    What causes most cases of meningitis in the U.S.?

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    Viral meningitis is the most common type, but it’s also usually the least severe. Many different types of viruses, including those that cause the common cold and the flu, can cause it. It often gets better even without treatment. But other kinds of the disease need treatment urgently -- bacterial meningitis can be life-threatening.  So see a doctor ASAP if you notice the symptoms.

  • Question 1/10

    Finding out which type of meningitis you have:

  • Answer 1/10

    Finding out which type of meningitis you have:

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    If your child’s doctor suspects meningitis, they will need to find out the cause to know how to treat it. They might test your child’s blood, stool, swabs from their nose or throat, and the fluid around their spinal cord to see what caused the infection. Antibiotics can treat bacterial meningitis. Your child may get antiviral medications if they have viral meningitis. If they have the rarer fungal meningitis, they’ll get antifungal medicine.

  • Answer 1/10

    To prevent meningitis, remind kids to:

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    Germs that cause meningitis can spread from person to person. You and your child should wash your hands before you eat, after you use the bathroom, and after you are out in a crowded place. Don’t share food, drinks, lip balm, or toothbrushes. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

  • Question 1/10

    There’s a vaccine that prevents meningitis.

  • Answer 1/10

    There’s a vaccine that prevents meningitis.

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    Kids should have a meningococcal conjugate vaccine at 11-12 years old and a booster shot at 16. Teens and young adults can also get a second vaccine, called MenB. Your doctor might recommend a meningococcal vaccine for younger children and adults who are at extra risk of infection.  Regular immunizations like those for measles, mumps, and polio can protect against meningitis, too.

  • Question 1/10

    The risk of meningitis is the same no matter your age or where you live.

  • Answer 1/10

    The risk of meningitis is the same no matter your age or where you live.

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    • Correct Answer:

    You can get meningitis at any age, but babies have a higher chance of getting bacterial meningitis. Viral meningitis is most common in children under 5. College students who live in dorms have a bigger risk of meningococcal meningitis, a serious bacterial type. Other teens and young adults have an extra risk, too.

  • Question 1/10

    How long does viral meningitis last?

  • Answer 1/10

    How long does viral meningitis last?

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    Some kids might need to go to the hospital for treatment, but if your child isn’t too sick, you can treat them at home. They’ll need plenty of rest and fluids. If the doctor prescribes medication, be sure your child takes it according to the directions.

  • Question 1/10

    People who aren’t sick can’t spread meningitis.

  • Answer 1/10

    People who aren’t sick can’t spread meningitis.

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    • Correct Answer:

    Some people carry the germs that can cause bacterial meningitis but never get sick. You can get these bacteria when you share saliva through kissing or close contact during a cough or sneeze. Bacteria can also be spread when someone doesn’t wash their hands well before cooking.

  • Question 1/10

    You might need antibiotics for meningitis even if you’re not sick.

  • Answer 1/10

    You might need antibiotics for meningitis even if you’re not sick.

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    • Correct Answer:

    If a family member or someone you’re in close contact with has bacterial meningitis, ask your doctor if you should take medicine to keep yourself from getting it. For certain types of the infection, your doctor might suggest you take antibiotics so you don’t get sick and spread the disease.

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Sources | Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on February 11, 2019 Medically Reviewed on February 11, 2019

Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on
February 11, 2019

IMAGE PROVIDED BY:

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SOURCES:

CDC: “Meningitis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Meningitis.”

World Health Organization: “Meningococcal Meningitis.”

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases: “Meningitis Myths and Facts.”

KidsHealth.org/Nemours: “Meningitis.”

CDC: “Meningococcal Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know.”

This tool does not provide medical advice.
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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