Arts & Campus Life: Health Tip: Meningitis

Melissa Allen, RN , Student Health

Meningitis is an infection of the meninges (the covering of the brain and spinal cord). Meningitis can be caused by bacteria or viruses. The recent case on campus has been confirmed to be viral meningitis, which is often less severe and, unlike bacterial meningitis, usually resolves without specific treatment. Contact with someone infected with viral meningitis does not require antibiotic treatment. It is important to note that meningitis, whether it is bacterial or viral, is spread by close contact. This is true for most illnesses. The most important precautions to take to protect yourself from most illnesses are universal:

-Avoid sharing utensils, bottles, cigarettes, drinks, or anything else that goes in your mouth with other people.

-Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently using soap and water.

-Always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

-Avoid smoking and drinking excess alcohol–these both weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to diseases.

-Eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest.

For more information on meningitis, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/index.html

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