Effects of Meningitis on the Body


The inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord is said to be meninges. Meningitis is occurred when the fluid that is surrounding the meninges is affected. Meningitis is differed in several types few are Bacterial meningitis, Fungal Meningitis, Parasitic Meningitis, Non- infectious Meningitis and Viral Meninges and the most common amongst them is the Viral Meninges. When a virus penetrates into the body through mouth or nose and goes till the brain, this type of meninges arises. Bacterial meningitis, though it is a rare kind it is deadly and a severe type. Its symptoms start from a cold like infection which is observed in the earlier stage. This meningitis harms the organs of human which could be starting from hearing loss, heart stroke, brain damage etc further harming other organs. The two most common causes of bacterial meningitis are Meningococcal infection and Pneumococcal infection.

Symptoms of Meningitis

Every individual is prone to meningitis but it is more common in the individuals who has weak immune system. The people who suffer from sudden high fever, continuous severe headache, stiff neck, nausea or vomiting should get diagnosed and must get medical care right away. Some of the viral meningitis are infectious which can be passed on to others by sneezing or by coughing or by close contact.

Symptoms of meningitis differ according to the age.

Viral meningitis symptoms in infants include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Over sleeping
  • Fever
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Lathery
  • Irritability etc.

Viral meningitis symptoms in adults include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Become more sensitive to bright light
  • Stiff neck
  • Lethargy
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Headache etc.

Bacterial Meningitis include:

  • Switching mental status
  • Sickness
  • Unsettled stomach
  • Prickliness
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Rigid mind
  • Lethargy

Individuals who experience above symptoms must seek medication immediately. Either by the looks or by the symptoms there is no way to find out with which meningitis a person is suffering from. After the diagnose is done, test determines clearly the type he/she has.

Fungal meningitis symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Being sensitive to light
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Confused state of mind etc

Meningitis as a Rash

This is one of the symptoms which is a late sign of a bacterial cause of meningitis, appeared to be faint rash on human skin. The cells around the capillaries trusted source are targeted by the reproduction of the bacteria from a meningococcal meningitis infection. These cells are damaged further leads to capillary damage and minor blood leaks. Rash is visible as a faint red or a pink or purple in colour, as the infection increases the rash become worse leaving a spot with darker and larger patches.

The rashes are easily visible on the people wit lighter skin tone and the people with dark skin tone may get delayed and have a hard time to find the rashes on their skin and rash is visible only on the lighter parts like lighter areas of skin, palms of hands and inside the mouth a sign of rash might be found easily.

Body Effected by Meningitis

Swelling in the central nervous system is observed due to meningitis, causing long period suffering it effects the entire body.


Brain inflammation, sensitive to light, sleeplessness, deafness, low blood pressure, severe headache, body pains, joint ache etc

Effects in detail
Severe Headache

Headache is one of the common effects for the people suffering from meningitis. This pain is caused due to the occurrence of inflammation near the brain and spinal cord. Headache due to meningitis is many times mistaken by migraine.

Raise in Temperature

High temperature is an illness which is found in the early as well as the later stages is the significant and most commonly suffered by the people who has meningitis trying to fight the foreign invader say, bacteria or a virus.


Behavioural changes and some form of uncertainty is observed due to the swelling and inflammation caused by meningitis. It effects the memory of patient which may lead to long term suffering becoming difficult for the children in their learning age.

Fontanel Bulging

Fontanel is the part of the baby’s body where babies have on their head, gap area where skull bones are not fully grown. At the top of the head babies have the largest fontanel which is to be treated sensitive and firm. An emergency medical attention is required when the fluid builds up in the head or brains swells, the baby’s fontanel bulges.

Stiff neck

A baby child or a patient who has stiff neck, unwilling to bend or unable to move the head forward may suffers from meningitis. During the acute phase of meningitis, an adult may face a painful stiff neck which is unmanageable and not able to move.

Light sensitivity

Light sensitivity can be noticed by a patient when a patient is not able to look towards the light and even the severe headache and brain swelling which is resulted by meningitis can result in light sensitivity.

Drowsiness and Difficulty in waking up

The person suffering from meningitis have the early symptoms like drowsiness and if it is too hard to wake a person up from sleep or if a person seems to be excessively sleepy all day long, this might be an early symptom of meningitis infection, which effects the brain alertness, which makes a person hard to be awake.

Extreme Tiredness

A person in his early stages of meningitis feels tired all day long, their body would be left out with little or no energy to fight the infections lowering the immune strength.

Less or No Appetite

When the brain is slowed down the systems of the body receives a negative signal. Even in the case of a patient suffering from meningitis, parts of the body which are sensible are alerted when the brain is swollen.

Vomiting or Nausea

Generally majority of us feels vomit sensation when we are prone to headache for a long period of time, few for a short time too. Meningitis causing severe headache and brain swelling causes nausea in the patient and especially more in the children.


The inflammation and swelling of brain put too much pressure on the patient’s brain, which leads them to lose their conscious and the patient may faint unknowingly and a person goes through enough brain damage to cause a coma.


A rash caused in each person differs with the reason. Several types of meningitis might cause rashes. A rash when observed in an unnormal way say, with fever or is a person is significantly ill immediate medication is required for a concerned person.

Seizures and epilepsy

Brain’s normal functioning can be disrupted causing seizure when brain swelling is caused due to meningitis. It is not that a person with seizure suffering from meningitis will develop epilepsy during the period of suffering. Occasionally people develop epilepsy even after recovering from meningitis.

Memory Damage

The pressure on the brain effects the memory and even after recovering from meningitis some people face problems with their memory loss.

Trouble focusing

Meningitis shows a huge impact on brain even after a patient is out of it. Due to lingering brain damage, children who have recovered from meningitis have difficulty in concentrating, so as the adults, face problem in their everyday work and activities.

Ear Ringing or Deafness

Loss of hearing is the common effect in children as well as in adults after meningitis. For the potential hearing problem to be treated, every patient who suffered from meningitis should be tested. Hearing loss might be permanent in some cases and few patients suffer from low to high range being sensitive to hearing. Tinnitus which is commonly called as ringing in the ear can also rule a meningitis patient throughout the life if not treated.

Loss of vision and Speech

Optic nerve which plays an important role in the vision is prone to damage after a person is hit by meningitis causing temporary or permanent blurry vision leading to blindness when not treated. Double vision is suffered by few patients. As the nerves in brain controls a person’s speech, the effect on the brain due to meningitis shows variation in the person’s speech in rare cases, which can be regained a speech therapy.

Kidney and Adrenal gland failure

Meningitis may cause kidney failure or a long-term kidney damage due to medication and if a person is affected severely. Waterhouse- Frederiksen syndrome is a rare but severe type of complication for the bacterial meningitis it could make adrenal glands stop working. A patient who suffers with this kind of syndrome can be prone to shock and can be fatal.

Spreading of Meningitis

As meningitis depends on different infections such as fungal, bacterial and viral or related to other causes, the way the meningitis cause is differed from person to person. Some infections are spread free and the spread drastically.

As symptoms of meningitis depends on the type of it, there are few different types of meningitis exist.

Types of meningitis

Bacterial Meningitis

This is a type of meningitis that spread through mother to child during the childbirth, this bacteria infection can pass from mother to baby, trough coughing and sneezing, anyone is prone to be affected with this disease with the air droplets this could be spread through close contact that is by living in the same household or a room, by eating or drinking from the same plate or glass from which a person is suffering this ca be spread. Only by giving several vaccines, an infant or young child can be cured with the bacteria meningitis. It has long term effects.

According to Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, people like teens or preteens or high-risk adults including children must get vaccine against meningococcal meningitis. Not only the one who is being affected through a spread be a victim to the meningitis, and also this victim may spread it to others around him. It is difficult to recognise its symptoms in its early stage as they are much similar to the symptoms of flu. A right treatment with antibiotics can cure this bacterial meningitis.

Viral Meningitis

By the close contact with the patient suffering from viral meningitis spreads rapidly. It spread as same as the bacterial meningitis. It has fewer long-term effects compared to bacterial meningitis. We can reduce the risk by washing hands regularly before and after every work.

Many Other types

There exist many other types of meningitis which are less harmful and may not spread from a person to person.


Meningitis symptoms mislead us with its headache, flu, migraine, and stroke. In children it is quite difficult for a person to identify this disease at early stage. Infants refuse to feeding, may be affected by vomiting, may feel irritable and inactive when suffer from meningitis. Immediate medical care is required as it turn up to be a life-threatening case. Nowadays many people could get recovered from meningitis with the advancement in medical fields.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459360/
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1756285609337975
  3. https://www.rcpjournals.org/content/clinmedicine/18/2/164
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470351/

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