A Simplified Overview of Meningitis

Swelling of the meninges, that’s the basic meaning of meningitis; there is the presence of inflammation due to several external and internal factors. The types of meningitis entirely depend on what caused the condition in the first place.

 

To start this lecture, let’s talk about how the meninges have gotten infected and became impaired. Let’s focus on the pathophysiology.

Meningitis Pathophysiology

Meninges serve as the protective coating that aids in the reduction of friction for the entire central nervous system, consisting mainly of the brain and spinal cord. In the event of an infection, meningitis occurs.

Brain Pizza

To help you further figure out the entire structure of the brain and how the meninges fit in, we’ll consider the brain as a whole pizza.

First, we have the crust of the pizza which is the cranium. The cranium covers the meninges. Underneath this crust, is the dura, arachnoid, and pia mater – they make up the meninges.

When considering the meninges, you have to think of it as the pizza toppings. The dura is the pizza sauce or the tomato sauce. The arachnoid is the cheese because the arachnoid looks like small cheese sprinkled around, that helps in cushioning the brain. Lastly, the pia mater is the pepperoni.

We compared the brain to a pizza to help you imagine how all these components come to place and how they are affected when there is the presence of a virus, bacteria, or fungus.

Two Main Types of Meningitis

The meninges can get infected either by a virus or bacteria. What’s the difference between the two?

  1. Viral Meningitis

With viral meningitis, there is the presence of infection inside the brain caused by pre-existing conditions like mumps, measles, or herpes. Viral meningitis is not contagious and is a more preferred diagnosis than bacterial meningitis.

  1. Bacterial Meningitis

Bacterial meningitis is the more lethal version of meningitis due to its effects on the brain and because it can spread very quickly. Bacterial meningitis occurs due to the following reasons:

  • A bacterial infection is happening inside the body like an upper respiratory tract infection.
  • Immunosuppressed clients who are suffering from an infection.
  • Nursing students who are exposed to clients with bacterial meningitis.
  • College students who have roommates or friends who have bacterial meningitis.
  • Injuries to the cranium, usually penetrating wounds that go deep into the crust.

Bacterial meningitis starts when bacteria from the throat, ears, or sinuses invade the bloodstream. Once the bacteria have infiltrated the bloodstream, it can easily travel to different parts of the body, especially the brain. Bacterial meningitis can be passed on to other people with a mere cough or sneeze.

Unlike viral meningitis, bacterial meningitis is life-threatening, and if not treated right away, the client might have brain damage.

So, how can you identify that your client is experiencing meningitis? In our next lecture, we’ll go into the different signs and symptoms of viral and bacterial meningitis, the nursing interventions, diagnostic studies, and client teaching.

For other nursing-related discussions, drop by Simple Nursing’s website and YouTube channel and check out tons of comprehensive topics that will help you in major nursing exams and the NCLEX®.

 

Diseases Requiring Airborne and Droplet Precautions

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In this NCLEX®-focused article, we’ll be talking about the different types of illnesses that require airborne and droplet precautions.

We do have tons of videos and articles that are primarily concentrated on topics that usually come out during the NCLEX®, so you check those out. For the meantime, we’ll go over the types of diseases that require airborne and droplet precautions.

Airborne Precautions

To easily remember the conditions requiring airborne precautions, you just have to keep in mind: MTV. MTV stands for that popular channel, Music Television. MTV is a cable channel that’s on air 24/7.

So, that’s your first clue: MTV is on air.

Airborne means that a person can easily get afflicted by merely breathing the same air or being exposed to an infected individual who is in the same vicinity; whether it’s inside a bathroom, a car, or any closed space.

The next clue for you to remember is that MTV stands for:

  • MMR or measles, mumps, rubella
  • Tuberculosis
  • Varicella (chicken pox)

Take note that varicella or chicken pox, mumps, and rubella are also transmitted through contact with people who have the condition.

Droplet Precautions

With droplet precautions, we have another television reference that will help you remember the different diseases involved. The show is called, “Pimp My Ride,” hosted by Xzibit, wherein they repair and customize old, dilapidated vehicles.

Setting the show aside, the word that you have to keep in mind is PIMP. Though this word is a bit inappropriate, when it comes to recalling important nursing topics, conjuring up words or mnemonics that can help you remember, to the point of passing the exam is necessary. Just don’t use this when interacting with clients or with other professionals; this acronym is created for the purpose of effectively remembering the different droplet precautions.

So, PIMP stands for:

  • Pertussis or whooping cough
  • Influenza or the flu
  • Meningitis (bacterial or viral)
  • Pneumonia

Let’s go through these conditions one by one.

Pertussis is also known as whooping cough which is a highly communicable disease that manifests as a deep, seal bark.

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious lung illness, much like getting a common cold but more severe and deadlier. This is also a condition that requires a flu vaccine to prevent progression into H1N1.

Meningitis can either be bacterial or viral. Bacterial meningitis is the worst that one can have because of its highly infectious nature. Meningitis occurs when the meninges inside the brain become inflamed, and the client will complain about a severe headache. Meningitis is diagnosed by acquiring spinal fluid through a spinal tap or a lumbar puncture. The spinal fluid will be sent to the laboratory for testing. For a more comprehensive discussion about meningitis, you can check out our other videos at SimpleNursing.com.

Pneumonia is an airway infection of the deep portions of the lungs and is also considered as the primary killer complication of people who have undergone surgery. This is the condition wherein nurses instruct their post-operative clients to turn, cough, and deep breathe to cause re-expansion of the alveoli and prevent collapse. If the alveoli will collapse, the infection will settle in and cause pneumonia.

A Summary

Airborne infections are those that belong to MTV while droplet infections are categorized as PIMP. MTV is MMR, tuberculosis, and varicella. PIMP is pertussis, influenza, meningitis, and pneumonia.

For other NCLEX®-related topics, please don’t hesitate to check out our YouTube videos and articles at SimpleNursing.com.