Skip to Content
Vaccines aren’t just for kids. Is your teen protected?

Viral Meningitis

AMBULATORY CARE:

Viral meningitis

is inflammation of the lining that surrounds and protects your brain and spinal cord. Viral meningitis is also called aseptic meningitis.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • High fever and chills
  • A stiff neck or neck pain
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Red or purple rash
  • Eye pain when you look into bright lights
  • Sleepiness or confusion
  • Irritability, poor eating, or trouble waking up in infants

Call 911 or have someone call 911 for any of the following:

  • You are hard to wake.
  • You have a seizure.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • You are confused.
  • You have a new red or purple rash.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You think someone in your family has viral meningitis.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may include any of the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Nausea medicine helps calm your stomach and control vomiting.
  • Antiviral medicine helps treat an infection caused by a virus.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Rest as much as possible. A dark, quiet room is best if you have headaches or your eyes are sensitive to light.
  • Drink liquids as directed. You may need extra liquids to help prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Prevent the spread of viral meningitis:

  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diapers, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.
  • Do not share food or drinks. Discard tissues after you use them to wipe or blow your nose.
  • Get vaccines as directed. Vaccines help protect you and others around you from diseases caused by infection.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Hide