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Home > Health & Disease in Naturopathy > Infectitious Diseases > Meningitis
Meningitis is a severe inflammation of the meninges or inner lining of the brain and spinal cord. This may result from invasion of bacteria or virus into meninges. The infection usually spreads from the base of the brain up over the surface and down the spinal cord. It appears to reach the inside from the throat and nose via the blood stream. It is one of the most serious of all the acute diseases.

Epidemic meningitis sometimes occurs in densely populated areas during the cold season. It is also known as spotted fever, as spots appear upon the face and body.

Symptoms of Meningitis are:
The source of infection in most persons who develop meningitis is from throat, nose, ear or lungs. But if they are subject to damp, cold and overcrowding, the organism is liable to pass into the blood stream. The incubation period is short, ranging between one and five days, and the onset is sudden. Persons with this disease usually have a high fever and stiffness in the neck and back. The patient tends to lie in a curled position with the knees drawn up towards the chin and the eyes turned away from light. He becomes drowsy, confused and may become unconscious. There may also be a skin rash and an obstinate constipation. Vomiting is common in epidemic meningitis.

Causes of Meningitis:
Meningitis usually follows an attack of otitis media (middle ear disease), or mastoiditis (infection of bone projecting behind the ear), or brain abcesses or even tonsillitis. Any skull fracture or penetrating head wound may also result in meningitis Some times, tuberculosis may spread to the brain and cause the disease. In case of epidemic meningitis, persons who have a mild sore throat or cold apparently spread the germs.

Treatment of Meningitis:
The patient with meningitis should be placed on complete bed rest and nursed very carefully. He should be given the juice of an orange diluted in a glass of warm water several times daily for the first few days of the treatment. This will provide energy, increase urinary output and promote body resistance against infection, thereby facilitating recovery. A warm-water enema should be administered daily to cleanse the bowels during this period. If the constipation is present, all steps should be taken to eradicate it through natural methods.

Cold compresses may be applied to the head in case the temperature rise above 103F. If this method does not succeed, cold pack may be applied to the whole body. The procedure is to wring out a sheet or other large square piece of linen material in cold water, wrap it twice right round the body and legs of the patient and then cover completely with a small blanket or similar warm material. This pack should be applied every three hours during the day while temperature is high and kept on for an hour or so each time. Hot water bottles may be applied to the feet and also against the sides of the body.

After the temperature has come down to normal and the tongue has cleared, the patient may be given liquid foods and fresh juicy fruits like apple, pear, peach, grapes, orange, pineapple and melon, for further four or five days. For drinks, unsweetened lemon water or plain water, either hot or cold, may be given. Thereafter, he may be gradually allowed to embark upon a well-balanced diet consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables and fruits. The emphasis should be on whole grain cereals, fresh fruits and raw or lightly-cooked vegetables. Normal diet should be resorted to only after complete recovery.

The use of garlic has been found beneficial in the treatment of meningitis. The juice of three cloves of garlic should be given to the patient mixed with some fruit of vegetable juice.

The patient should take neutral immersion bath, as this bath is very useful in organic diseases of brain and spinal cord, including meningitis. This bath should be taken for 20 to 30 minutes at water temperature ranging from 26C to 28C (92 to 98F) before retiring at night. A cold wet cloth should be applied to the head and forehead before entering the bath. This bath will equalize the circulation so as to reduce the amount of blood in the brain and spinal cord. Application of hot fomentation to the spine every two hours with spinal ice-bag during intervals will also be beneficial in the treatment of meningitis.
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