Encephalitis is a rare medical condition implicating inflammation of brain tissues. The long-term prognosis for persons suffering with encephalitis varies greatly. In certain cases, patients recover from the sickness with little or no complications. In others, people may face varying degrees of long-term problems. Some of them may improve and recover with the assistance of rehabilitation facilities. Nonetheless, most of the mild cases of encephalitis are capable of recovering completely without complications.
Can You Fully Recover From Encephalitis?
Generally, the chances of recovery and recovery rate are determined by the infected virus or bacteria and the degree of the inflammation. As the brain cells and tissues are very delicate and fragile structures in the human’s body, any severe form of illnesses might impose great risk of causing complications. Fortunately, most of the mild encephalitis can fully recover without life-long difficulties.
Even so, encephalitis recovery may take some time. The recovery rate may be quick at the beginning, but it is yet to be complete. Further healing process is slower, and may take over months, if not years. Every individual is unique, nobody recovers from encephalitis at the same rate, and no cases are the same.
Anyhow, encephalitis is commonly caused by one of numerous viral or bacterial infections. The examples of viral infections include influenza, herpes simplex, mumps, measles, rubella, chickenpox, rabies, arbovirus and more. Fungal, parasitic, or rickettsial infections may also occur under very rare circumstances. Children, elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible and vulnerable towards these infections. When encephalitis occurs, it can be quite dangerous, producing signs and symptoms such as:
- Fever, chill
- Photophobia (sensitive to light)
- Headache, dizziness
- Neck stiffness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in personality and emotion, irritability
- Fits, seizures
- Weakness, lethargy
- Body ache
- Other symptoms depend on whichever part of the brain has been affected
Treatment For Encephalitis
The consequences of encephalitis might be severe sometimes, hence the initial treatment necessitates hospitalisation. Treatment plan will be determined mostly by the age and medical condition of the patient, including the types and origin of the infection.
If the source of the encephalitis is a bacterial infection, the treatment requires specific intravenous antibiotics. Viral encephalitis on the other hand are treated with supportive care, some may be beneficial with intravenous antiviral treatment, such as acyclovir. Other therapies may be utilised for symptomatic relief, to decrease fever, hydrate the patient, manage seizures if they occur, and relieve any intracranial pressure (pressure in the skull). Rehabilitation may be helpful in some cases as well to improve the recovery outcome.
Are There Any Precautions To Prevent Encephalitis?
Various vaccinations are available in Malaysia to prevent encephalitis. One of the well known vaccines, Japanese encephalitis vaccine, can be easily obtained throughout Malaysia. It is even routinely administered in Sarawak based on the latest Malaysia Immunization Schedule. Other forms of vaccinations, which are optional, are also available to protect against pneumococcal, smallpox, mumps, measles, and rubella. These vaccines are scientifically proven able to reduce incidence of encephalitis, particularly among youngsters. Another approach to avoid encephalitis is to avoid bites from viral or bacterial carrying insects, such as ticks or mosquitoes; nevertheless, vaccinations are still the safest choice.