It’s been almost a full year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve learned a lot about the novel coronavirus since then. For one, we now know that it can bring on a host of complications, one of which is encephalitis. Encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, can cause brain damage and alter one’s functioning. One way to protect against encephalitis caused by COVID-19? Get the vaccine.
The most common cause of encephalitis is viral infection, like the coronavirus, but there are a number of other causes as well. Noninfectious inflammatory infections and bacterial infections can also lead to encephalitis. In many cases, medical professionals have no idea what caused the inflammation. Regardless of what has led to this condition, symptoms are often flu-like, with impacted individuals experiencing aches, fatigue, fever, and headaches. In more severe cases, symptoms include seizures, muscle weakness, loss of consciousness, paralysis or loss of sensation, hallucinations and confusion, and issues with speech and hearing. No matter what the severity of your symptoms are, it is integral to seek treatment. Encephalitis can injure the brain, which could be fatal. Further complications may arise, such as paralysis, changes in personality, defects with vision and/or hearing, fatigue, weakness, issues with memory, and speech impairments.
Doctors will ask for medical history before performing a physical examination when it comes to diagnosis. They may also order tests, such as MRIs, CT scans, EEGs, brain biopsies, spinal taps, and other lab tests. Once a diagnosis has been successfully obtained, doctors will turn to treatment. Patients should remain on bed rest, consume plenty of fluids, and receive anti-inflammatory drugs. Antiviral drugs are often needed to treat the root cause of the inflammation as well. If a severe case has landed one in the hospital, they may require intravenous fluids, anticonvulsant medications, breathing assistance, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
COVID-19 Vaccine Protects from Encephalitis
While encephalitis has been a relatively rare complication of COVID-19, doctors stress the severity of the complication. It can cause permanent damage to the brain, which is a life-altering effect. As February 22 marked World Encephalitis Day, now is the perfect time to discuss how to avoid this potential complication.
According to doctors, getting the COVID-19 vaccine effectively destroys the chance of one developing encephalitis from the coronavirus. If you never contract the virus in the first place, you will never experience the complications.
Every year, almost 500,000 people are impacted by encephalitis. As this condition can result in permanent brain damage and life-altering complications, it is essential that we do all that we can to prevent and effectively treat it. If you are eligible, get vaccinated and protect yourself.
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