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Fungal Meningitis

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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. The most common symptoms include a high fever, stiff neck, and headache.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

You may need extra oxygen

if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

A pulse oximeter

is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.

Neuro signs,

or neuro checks, show healthcare providers your brain function. They will check how your pupils react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.

Medicines:

  • Antifungal medicine helps to kill the fungus causing your infection.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more pain medicine.
  • Antinausea medicine may be given to calm your stomach and control vomiting.
  • Medicine may be given to lower a fever.
  • Steroids decrease redness, pain, and swelling.

Tests:

  • Blood tests may be used to check for the fungus that causes meningitis.
  • X-ray, MRI, or CT scan pictures may be used to check for signs of infection, tumors, and other things that could be causing your problems. You may be given contrast liquid to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious damage. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • A lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, is a procedure used to take a sample of fluid from around your spinal cord. Your healthcare provider will insert a needle into your spine through your skin. The fluid will be take through the needle. The sample is tested for the fungus that can cause meningitis.
  • A sputum sample may be tested for the fungus that causes meningitis. It can also help your healthcare provider choose the best medicine for you.

Treatment:

Your treatment may change if the meningitis is not being controlled. This is often decided after you have tests. You may need any of the following:

  • Lumbar drainage is a procedure that may be used if your infection causes pressure to build up in your brain. This allows fluid to drain and the pressure to return to normal. A thin catheter (flexible tube) will be put into your brain.
  • A ventriculoperitoneal shunt is a catheter used to drain extra fluid from your brain into your abdomen. The fluid will be absorbed by your body and will no longer harm you.

RISKS:

You may become very sick. Your brain may swell and you could have seizures. Without early treatment, your brain and other organs could be damaged. You may have hearing, vision, speech, or behavior problems. Fungal meningitis can cause paralysis or death.

CARE AGREEMENT:

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.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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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