Meningitis: Avoid overcrowded, poorly ventilated areas, doctor cautions

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Dr Chioma Ofoekii, a medical practitioner, has advised that people should avoid overcrowding and poor ventilation during hot season to prevent meningitis.

Ofoekii gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

According to her, meningitis can be infectious or non-infectious, with viruses accounting for majority of the infectious type.

She said that other causes of infectious meningitis included bacteria, fungi and parasites.

She added that ”in every human being, there are three protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord called the meninges. Inflammation of these membranes is called Meningitis.

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“Most viral and bacterial meningitis are contagious and can spread from person to person through contact with body fluids such as saliva and respiratory droplets during sneezing and coughing.

”Thus, meningitis can spread easily in overcrowded and enclosed areas such as schools, daycare centres, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, military bases, and dormitories.”

She said that vaccines are the most effective way to protect against certain types of bacterial meningitis.

She advised people to get vaccinated and stay up-to-date with booster doses.

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“This is especially important for people who work in high risk settings, children and the elderly, and when travelling to endemic areas.

“We should practice good hygiene and frequent hand washing with soap, water and ensure adequate hydration, especially during the hot and dry weather.

”Avoid smoking and cigarette smoke and also get adequate rest and maintain a healthy diet,” she said.

According to her, common symptoms of meningitis include headache, fever, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to bright light, and confusion.

She said that certain bacteria can also be contracted through unhygienic food and following trauma.

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“Some of the viral agents are seasonal viruses and there is a tendency for seasonal variations in outbreaks.

“In Nigeria, these seasonal outbreaks are common during the hot, dry and windy weather, therefore, it is not necessarily heat that causes meningitis.

“Any condition that encourages easy spread of organisms from person to person, or increased access of organisms into the bloodstream can increase the susceptibility to meningitis.”(NAN)

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