If you are in a car accident, there is a good chance you will sustain some type of injury. After all, every year, about 4.4 million Americans require medical care after motor vehicle crashes. Unfortunately, though, the symptoms of even catastrophic injuries may not appear immediately.
Meningitis is a potentially life-threatening infection of the meninges, a three-layer membrane that holds cerebrospinal fluid in place. Regrettably, head trauma during a car accident may increase your chances of developing meningitis.
What is cerebrospinal fluid?
Cerebrospinal fluid is a watery substance that surrounds your brain and spinal cord. Not only does this fluid provide support for these vital parts of your body, but it also delivers oxygen and nutrients to them.
During a car accident, the membrane that encases cerebrospinal fluid may rupture. Torn meninges may allow cerebrospinal fluid to leak through your nose or ears.
How does meningitis develop?
If your meninges rupture, bacteria may work their way into your cerebrospinal fluid. These bacteria may enter your skull through your nose, eyes or ears. Infection-related inflammation may cause brain or spinal cord damage.
Because meningitis is a medical emergency, you should go to the hospital immediately upon experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Cerebrospinal fluid drips
- Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
- Skin rash
While doctors may use antibiotics, surgery or other methods to treat meningitis, your recovery is likely to be both long and expensive. Luckily, you may be able to pursue substantial compensation for your catastrophic brain injury from the driver who caused the crash.