What is fungal meningitis? Fungal meningitis is inflammation of the lining that surrounds and protects your brain and spinal cord. The inflammation is caused by a fungal infection and can be life-threatening.
What causes fungal meningitis? Fungus germs live in soil. It is not easily spread from person to person. You may be more likely to get fungal meningitis if you have other medical problems, such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV. You are also more likely to get it if you take certain medicines over a long period of time.
What are the signs and symptoms of fungal meningitis?
- Severe headache
- High fever
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stiff neck or neck pain
- Eye pain when you look into bright lights
- Sleepiness or confusion.
How is fungal meningitis diagnosed?
CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray and computer are used to take pictures of your skull and brain. You may be given dye, also called contrast, before the test. Tell the caregiver if you are allergic to dye, iodine, or seafood.
Lumbar puncture: This procedure may also be called a spinal tap. During a lumbar puncture, you will need to lie very still. Caregivers may give you medicine to make you lose feeling in a small area of your back. Caregivers will clean this area of your back. A needle will be put in, and fluid removed from around your spinal cord. The fluid will be sent to a lab for tests. The tests check for infection, bleeding around your brain and spinal cord, or other problems. Sometimes medicine may be put into your back to treat your illness.
MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your brain. It will also take pictures of the blood vessels and structures in your head. You may be given dye, also called contrast, before the test. Tell caregivers if you are allergic to dye, iodine, or seafood. Remove all jewelry, and tell caregivers if you have any metal in or on your body. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell caregivers if you cannot lie still or are anxious or afraid of closed spaces.
How is fungal meningitis treated? You may need the following treatments:
Antifungal medicine: This medicine helps kill the fungus causing your infection. Some other medicines cannot be taken with antifungal medicine. Tell your caregiver if you are taking other medicines, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements.
Fever medicine: This medicine lowers your temperature. Common medicines used to lower temperature include acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.
Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
When should I contact my caregiver? Contact your caregiver if:
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition, medicine, or care.
When should I seek immediate care? Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You are hard to wake. Tell someone to call 911 if it becomes hard to wake you.
- You have a headache and stiff neck.
- You are confused.
- You have a seizure.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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