Risk groups for meningitis

Meningitis can be caused by viruses, fungi or bacteria, so one of the biggest risk factors for getting the disease is having a weakened immune system, as in people with autoimmune diseases like AIDS, lupus or cancer, for example.

However, there are other factors that also increase the risk of developing meningitis, such as:

  • Frequently drink alcoholic beverages;
  • Take immunosuppressive drugs;
  • Use intravenous drugs;
  • Not having a vaccination, especially against meningitis, measles, flu or pneumonia;
  • Have removed the spleen;
  • Be undergoing cancer treatment.

In addition, pregnant women or people who work in places with a lot of people, such as shopping malls or hospitals, for example, also have a higher risk of getting meningitis.

At what age is it more common to get meningitis

Meningitis is more common in children under 5 years old or in adults over 60 years old, mainly due to the immaturity of the immune system or the decrease in the body's defenses.

What to do in case of suspicion

When meningitis is suspected, it is recommended to seek medical assistance as soon as possible so that treatment is instituted as soon as possible to reduce the risk of neurological sequelae.

How to avoid getting meningitis

To decrease the risk of getting meningitis, especially in people with these factors, it is advised:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating, after using the bathroom or after being in crowded places;
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks or cutlery;
  • Do not smoke and avoid places with a lot of smoke;
  • Avoid direct contact with sick people.

In addition, having a vaccination against meningitis, flu, measles or pneumonia also decreases the risk of getting the disease. Learn more about meningitis vaccines.