Encephalitis is brought to you via a primary infection in your brain or secondarily from another infection that travels to your brain.
A mild case of encephalitis typically causes flu like symptoms, notably:
This mild event of viral causing brain inflammation doesn’t last long. However, a serious bout with encephalitis can cause a wide range of symptoms, like:
- sudden fever
- unsteady gait
- light sensitivity
- severe headache
- nausea & vomiting
- stiff neck, upper back
Meningitis has some of these symptoms in common. But its cause is inflammation of meninges and not the brain itself, as is the case with encephalitis.
Seek emergency medical assistance if your encephalitis causes these symptoms:
- poor responsiveness
- judgment impairment
- loss of consciousness
- muscle weakness, paralysis
- social interaction withdrawal
- impaired short, long term memory
- mood ~ “flat”, lacking, inappropriate
- diminished interest in daily activities
Viral infections are the primary cause for headache irritability encephalitis, including:
- coxsackie virus
- herpes simplex infection
- varicella ~ chickenpox, shingles
- Epstein Barr virus ~ infectious mononucleosis
Although most forms of encephalitis are caused by viruses, these bacterial infections can also cause headache and irritability encephalitis symptoms:
- Western equine encephalitis ~ similar to Eastern. mostly reported in central & western plains
- West Nile encephalitis ~ birds main host, those most at risk are with suppressed immune systems
- Eastern equine encephalitis ~ rarely afflicts humans, generally horses and birds in the eastern U.S.
- St. Louis encephalitis ~ transmitted bird to mosquitoes, about three dozen yearly cases, can be fatal
- La Crosse encephalitis ~ hardwood forest areas of upper mid-west & Appalachia, passed from chipmunks & squirrels to mosquitos, usually affects children, rarely fatal
And rabies encephalitis is usually fatal.
Encephalitis treatment involves supportive care, infection fighting medication and symptom relief. Rest, proper nutrition and fluids lends vital support for your body to fight off viral encephalitis.
Antiviral medications are available to help with herpes encephalitis and other severe viral infections. Antibiotics are used to treat bacteria instigated infection.
Other treatment drugs may be necessary for relief of encephalitis symptoms, for instance:
- seizures ~ anti-seizure meds
- fever & headache ~ acetaminophen
- irritability, restlessness ~ sedatives
- reduce brain swelling ~ steroids (rarely)
Severe cases of encephalitis are extremely rare, can cause permanent neurological impairment and death is a very real possibility.
For mild encephalitis treatment, you need to focus on resting, consuming a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.