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Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, which can be caused by different reasons (a virus or bacteria), the intensity of the disease can be mild or severe, the duration, the diagnosis and the treatment will depend on the type of encephalitis.
The greater part of the cases of acute encephalitis usually lasts a maximum of 7 days. The total recovery may take longer, usually several weeks or months.
- Take a computerized tomography scan (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to check if the brain is inflamed or has any bleeding or other anomalies.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG), which records the electrical signals of the brain, to check if there are brain waves are strange.
- Blood tests to confirm the presence of bacteria or viruses in the blood, and if the body is making antibodies against a particular germ.
- Lumbar puncture to collect cerebrospinal fluid to detect possible signs of infection.
A very reduced amount die from encephalitis. Babies under 1 year and adults over 55 years of age have the highest risk of a fatal encephalitis.
- If the encephalitis is mild, in some cases can be treated at home, but the majority should stay in the hospital, so common in the intensive care unit. The doctors will monitor blood pressure, heart rate and breathing, also body fluids to prevent the brain from swelling even more.
- You can use antiviral drugs to treat some types of encephalitis, for example in the case of the herpes simplex virus.
- Corticosteroids may be given to reduce the inflammation of the brain. If the child experiences seizures, he will probably administer anticonvulsant drugs.
- The over the counter drugs, like paracetamol, can be used for fever and headache.
- The majority of children who contract encephalitis will recover entirely. A small percentage suffer permanent brain damage, such as learning disabilities or speech, loss of memory or problems with muscle control. For these cases, the treatment may be speech therapy, physiotherapy and/or ergotherapy or occupational therapy.