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Know The Signs of Encephalitis

Written by Courteney

Posted on March 28, 2017 at 11:16 pm

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Encephalitis is a medical term meaning inflammation of the brain. While some cases are mild and quickly resolved, it can be a very serious condition, especially in children. There are many causes of encephalitis, but the most common causes are viral infections. Let’s take a look at some of the other causes, symptoms to look out for, complications and treatment:

Symptoms of Encephalitis

Some cases of encephalitis are asymptomatic, but others may exhibit a variety of symptoms such as cold-like ones. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Severe headache
  • Confusion or mental fogginess
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Aches and pains
  • Hallucinations
  • Vision, speech or auditory interruptions
  • Fainting
  • False smells (smelling foul or rotten scents that aren’t really there)

Small children or babies may exhibit these symptoms:

  • Bulging of the soft part of the skull in infants
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Inconsolable fussiness
  • Stiffness
  • Irritability
  • Problems feeding

Babies or children exhibiting any of these symptoms should receive urgent medical attention.

Causes of Encephalitis

  1. Childhood infections such as rubella or the mumps.
  2. Herpes simplex virus (genital herpes is actually the most common cause of encephalitis).
  3. Animal-spread viruses such as rabies.
  4. Arboviruses – these are viruses that are carried and spread by insects, most commonly, mosquitos or ticks.
  5. Having a growth – a cancerous or noncancerous tumor.
  6. Being immunocomprimosed – If you have a weakened immune system due to disease or medications you are at greater risk of picking up an infection.

Complications of Encephalitis

There may be temporary or long-term complications such as fatigue, memory, auditory, speech or thought problems or paralysis. It may also cause brain damage, a coma or even death in instances of severe brain inflammation. Untreated or severe encephalitis has even surprisingly been linked to dementia in children.

Encephalitis Prevention and Treatment

Treatment for encephalitis varies and depends on the severity and root cause. It often includes a combination of anti-inflammatories, antiviral and antibiotic medications. There is no way to prevent encephalitis completely, but the best precautionary measure you can take is to be safe about mosquitoes and bugs, and practice good hygiene and try to avoid sick people or contaminated areas.

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