Friday, November 11, 2011

Sinus Infection-Induced Meningitis

Sinus Infection-Induced Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and the brain. These membranes are called meninges. Sinus infections are one of the main causes of deadly meningitis, but sinus infection-induced meningitis is rare. This type of meningitis may start with symptoms like change in behavior, fever, headache, loss of concentration and stiff neck. Other symptoms of meningitis include vomiting and nausea. The infections may travel to the brain because of the following reasons:

If the bone between the brain and the sinuses is fractured, the infection may spread into the brain and near by tissues, causing meningitis. Even a micro-fracture can initiate spread of the infection.

People who suffer from sinus infections frequently are prone to meningitis, because the same bacteria can cause the infections and meningitis. The ethmoid sinus’s roof is the brain’s floor and the frontal sinus is located in front of the brain. Thus, infection of these sinuses may affect the brain easily.

The sphenoid sinus is located next to the carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain.

The veins draining deoxygenated blood from the brain open into the cavernous sinus, which sits at the rear of the sphenoid sinus. Proximity of the major arteries and veins to the sphenoid sinus increases chances of spreading the sinus infections to the brain. The sphenoid sinus infection may also cause thrombosis.

Since the nose veins do not feature valves, infections can spread upwards. The nose infection has chances to travel to the brain because blood vessels supplying to the brain and the nose are interconnected.

Treatment of Meningitis

Meningitis could be bacterial or viral. The treatment of the disease depends on organisms causing the meningitis symptoms. Bacterial meningitis is cured with antibiotics, including intravenous (IV) antibiotics, but the type of antibiotic depends on the bacteria responsible for the symptoms. Some times hospitalization is necessary. In some cases like brain swelling, intravenous fluids and other medications may be required. Patients of bacterial meningitis may require hospitalization. They should ensure that their blood pressure and breathing are normal. A breathing tube may help in improving patients’ breathing.

Some types of bacterial meningitis are communicable. The exchange of throat and respiratory secretions during sneezing, kissing and coughing can spread the bacteria.

Steroids may reduce disease’s severity. Corticosteroids help in releasing pressure within the brain due to meningitis. Medication is also prescribed to bring down the fever. Improvement in room ventilation, cooling pads and fluids reduces the fever. Consult your doctor and start the treatment during the early stage of the disease.

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