The Importance of a Prompt Bacterial Meningitis Diagnosis

Although the symptoms of bacterial meningitis are similar to the flu, with the appropriate diagnostic tests, bacterial meningitis is easy to identify. Unfortunately, when children and young adults visit emergency rooms with vomiting, fatigue and high fevers, many medical professionals send them home with a flu diagnosis. However, bacterial meningitis can be deadly within as little as 24 hours if the appropriate antibiotics are not administered. Therefore, the correct diagnosis is essential in order to prevent permanent damage or death.

When a Rhode Island patient is exhibiting any of the following, a doctor should order a spinal tap to confirm or rule out bacterial meningitis:

  • Nausea
  • High fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Sensitivity to light

Bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, caused by bacteria. A spinal tap will reveal immediately if these symptoms are the result of the flu or the potentially-deadly disease, bacterial meningitis. If left untreated, this disease can cause permanent damage to the brain, learning disabilities, hearing and vision loss, and ultimately death.

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