Avoid Getting Meningitis By Following These 10 Tips
Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges, or membranes around the brain and spinal cord and is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. The condition is a transferable disease spread through contact with saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus of someone who is infected. Kissing and sharing items with someone who has meningitis is a particular was of becoming infected, and there are some simple prevention tips to keep it from spreading.
Wash Your Hands
Like most viral infections, such as the common cold, one of the best things to do is always make it a practice of washing hands to prevent germs. The most critical times are before eating, after going to the bathroom, after using public facilities or things like shopping carts, and after petting animals. A rule of thumb is to lather well with soap and scrub hands for at least twenty seconds before rinsing.
Avoid Sharing Personal Items
Everyone should use his or her personal hygiene items at the best of times, but because meningitis can be spread through saliva, toothbrushes and a tube of toothpaste should never be shared with someone who is infected. Other items to be kept to oneself include drinking glasses, straws, eating utensils, lipsticks and lip balms, and cigarettes. Never drink from the same pop, water bottle, or travel mug as an infected person.
Healthy Immune System
A healthy immune system will help everyone avoid the spread of meningitis even when in contact with someone who is infected. The immune system actively fights off viruses and bacteria and works best when strong and healthy. Maintaining a healthy immune system is as easy as eating nutritiously, including a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, exercising regularly and getting adequate sleep.
Quit Drugs And Alcohol
Maintaining good health and a strong immune system includes the avoidance of drugs and alcohol. The excess use of these substances contributes to weakening the immune system, making it harder to fight off illness. Overdoing alcohol consumption depletes the body of valuable and healthy nutrients and makes it more difficult for white blood cells to kill germs. A healthy immune system requires adequate vitamin levels to do its job.
Cover Your Mouth
It is heard time and again during cold and flu season, and the practice of covering one’s mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing applies for minimizing the spread of meningitis. Cough and sneeze into the upper sleeve, rather than hands. Alternatively, sneeze into a tissue, which should be tossed in the garbage immediately after. Anyone working with the public should always have a bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer nearby.
It is recommended for pregnant women to heed caution when it comes to certain food to avoid coming down with the listeria meningitis. This foodborne illness is serious when it infects women who are pregnant or anyone with an impaired immune systems. The best thing to do to avoid listeriosis is to ensure meat is cooked to 165 F (74 C). Consume dairy products only if they are made with pasteurized milk and deli meat if processed correctly.
Don’t Delay Treatment
Immediate treatment is key to beating meningitis before it has time to hit. Anyone who has been in contact with someone with the illness or has shared utensils or unhygienic items with an infected person should see a doctor right away. Antibiotics can help prevent the bacterial type from developing, and although they do not prevent meningitis of the viral form from infecting people, there may be options a doctor can suggest.
Avid travelers should research their country of choice to avoid those with a history of or current outbreak of meningitis. There is an increased risk of coming in contact with the illness in some locations such as what is known as the meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa. It consists of regions of the Gambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea.
Avoid Infected People
Anyone infected with meningitis can easily pass it along to others. The best way of preventing the illness is to avoid anyone who has it. Close contact with people with meningitis puts anyone at risk by coming in direct contact with the bacteria from the nose and mouth if the infected individual coughs or sneezes. Those who are infected should always be considerate of others with respiratory illnesses and maintain hygienic practices when coughing and sneezing.
For those who do not have ethical reasons preventing them from getting vaccinated, health care professionals recommend the vaccines. There are two in the U.S. for the protection from bacterial types of meningitis. By the age of eleven or twelve, children get their first shot, followed by a booster between five to ten years later. Students living in college dorms, or those in the military or traveling in that age range should be up-to-date as well.