Early diagnosis and treatment are very important with brain infections. However,
most of the symptoms of
and other central nervous system infections can be caused by other medical
conditions too. Do not panic. In young infants, meningitis might look like
general symptoms such as crying too much, sleeping too much, eating too little,
irritability, and listlessness. Whenever you suspect
any other brain infection, or are in doubt, call your doctor.
Call 911 if an ill person has an altered level of consciousness with high fever,
respiratory distress, severe headache with vomiting, a new
if your baby appears to be lethargic, with poor feeding, a high
If you suspect that someone in your household has some kind of brain infection,
first, call your doctor or 911 emergency services and follow their advice.
Provide cooling measures and give temperature-lowering
If the person is vomiting, put him or her on their side to prevent them from
inhaling and choking on the vomit.
Avoid any strenuous activities, and keep the person on strict bed rest. Always
follow the advice of your doctor.
Most types of
are unpredictable and cannot be prevented. There are vaccines, however, against
certain types of bacteria.
Hib vaccines are very safe and highly effective. It is a part of standard
immunization for infants and children.
A vaccine against pneumococcal
can also prevent other forms of infection. It is not effective in children
younger than 2 years but is recommended for all those older than 65 years and
younger people with certain chronic medical conditions.
A vaccine against meningococcal
not routinely used in the US. It is being used, however, to control outbreaks in
certain regions of the country, in overcrowded environments such as college
dormitories, and as a preventive measure for travelers outside of the US.
Information on regions for which this vaccine is recommended is available at the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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