What is Viral Meningitis and How to Get It?
Have you ever heard of viral meningitis? It is an infection of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges. This condition is usually caused by different viruses and is more common during the summer and fall seasons. In this article, we’ll discuss the various ways to get viral meningitis and how to avoid it. Read on to find out more.
What is Viral Meningitis?
Viral meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges caused by a virus. It’s not as severe or dangerous as bacterial meningitis, as it can go away on its own in a couple of weeks. In some rare cases, it can develop complications that can lead to long-term damage or even death.
Compared to bacterial meningitis, viral meningitis is less severe and is usually not fatal. It can go away on its own in about two weeks, with proper care and management.
How Can You Contract Viral Meningitis?
Viral meningitis is contagious and can spread easily through different means, such as:
Close Contact with an Infected Person
One can easily get viral meningitis through direct contact with someone carrying the virus. It could be from someone in your school, workplace, or household.
Exposure to Bodily Fluids
Viral meningitis can also spread when you come into contact with an infected person’s saliva, mucus, and even feces. Make sure to keep your hands clean and avoid sharing utensils or personal belongings with someone who has the virus.
Poor Hygiene Practices
Anyone can contract viral meningitis if they’re not practicing good hygiene. Ensure that you and your surroundings are kept clean at all times to prevent the spread of the virus.
Symptoms of Viral Meningitis
The symptoms of viral meningitis can start to show within 3-7 days after contracting the virus, and they may include:
People with viral meningitis may experience throbbing and intense headaches that can worsen when exposed to light or sounds.
Fever is usually present in the first few days of viral meningitis. It can go up to 101-104°F.
Stiffness in the neck can make it difficult for someone to move their head. This symptom is usually the result of inflammation of the meninges.
Sensitivity to Light
Photophobia or light sensitivity may also be present in viral meningitis, making it difficult for someone to look at bright lights or sunlight.
Nausea and Vomiting
Some people may experience nausea and vomiting due to the inflammation affecting the gastrointestinal tract.
Who is at Risk for Viral Meningitis?
Some groups of people are more susceptible to viral meningitis, including:
People with Weakened Immune Systems
People whose immune systems are weak are at higher risk of contracting viral meningitis. This includes people who have HIV, cancer, and autoimmune disorders.
Travelers to Certain Parts of the World
People who travel to countries or regions with high rates of viral meningitis are usually at risk of contracting the disease.
Children who have not yet developed strong immune systems are also susceptible to getting viral meningitis.
Treatment Options for Viral Meningitis
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of viral meningitis, it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away. Some treatments for viral meningitis include:
Doctors may prescribe medications to ease the symptoms caused by viral meningitis, such as headaches and fever. Please avoid self-medicating in any way.
In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary. This is especially true for people with compromised immune systems.
Other Medical Interventions
Doctors may perform a spinal tap to check for signs of inflammation. They may also isolate the person in a hospital room to prevent the spread of the virus.
Prevention Strategies for Viral Meningitis
Preventing viral meningitis is essential in keeping the virus from spreading. Some prevention strategies include:
Practicing Good Hygiene
Wash your hands and your surrounding environment often. Proper hygiene can prevent the spread of germs, including viral meningitis.
Avoiding Close Contact with Sick Individuals
Try to avoid direct contact with people who are sick to prevent catching the virus. Refrain from sharing personal belongings and utensils.
In some cases, getting vaccinated can also help reduce the risk of contracting viral meningitis. Consult your doctor to find out more about vaccination options.
First-Hand Accounts of Viral Meningitis
Here are some first-hand accounts of people who’ve contracted viral meningitis:
“I was bedridden for about two weeks with severe headaches and a fever that would come and go. I was eventually diagnosed with viral meningitis and had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. It was a challenging experience, but I’m glad I got through it.”
“My son contracted viral meningitis when he was only six months old. It was a scary time for us, but we were relieved when he recovered after taking the proper medications. Now he’s a healthy two-year-old boy.”
Viral meningitis is a contagious disease that can result in severe headaches, fever, and stiff neck, among other symptoms. It’s essential to take the necessary measures to prevent the virus from spreading, such as practicing good hygiene, avoiding close contact with sick individuals, and getting vaccinated. Remember that early medical attention is critical in managing viral meningitis, so seek help once you or someone you know starts experiencing symptoms.