Meningitis is an illness we have all heard about in the news as being a deadly contagious bug and urged to receive a vaccine to prevent. There are bacterial, the more deadly version, and viral meningitis illnesses that start with very similar symptoms. While there is not a vaccine for the protection from viral meningitis but there is for the more serious bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is a frightening and painful illness, which we all should know the symptoms, causes and other information.
My own experience with viral Meningitis occurred 30 years ago when most of us knew very little about Meningitis. When I was ill after a three-week vacation, of camping, canoeing, local sightseeing, I thought it was a flu bug on steroids.
Meningitis Symptoms Exhibited
- scratchy throat
- small headache changed to spreading headache with delirium
- high fever
- light sensitive
- swollen spinal cord
When the nurse called me, she found me lying on the bathroom floor, in the dark. My temperature was 103.5F and I was light sensitive. The doctor turned the lights off and did an exam, which included checking my throat and glands. He also had me lie flat on my back and told me to relax as he placed his hands under my head and knees and lifted. I let out a horrible scream of agony that confirmed what he suspected, a swollen spinal cord.
At the time of my illness, my fiancé, now my husband came into the exam room to be check as well. It turns out my fiancé only had a sore throat and no other symptoms. The doctor said I needed to go straight to the hospital from his office. He told me that I had all the symptoms of meningitis and needed hospitalization.
Hospitalization and Tests
- blood work
- spinal tap
- throat swab
- CAT scan
- EEG brain wave test
After I spent a week in the hospital, it was determined I was suffering from viral meningitis after running tests. Viral meningitis has no cure and only treatment was for the symptoms. Mosquitos were most likely the carrier of the virus that led to my Viral Meningitis. The doctor prescribed IV fluids and painkillers, anti-nausea medication and ice packs to bring my soaring fever of 104 F.
Many months after coming home from my bout of meningitis, I still suffered from daily headaches that I needed medication to control. This was my second time suffering from a viral infection in my brain in 4 years and my doctor recommended I be diligent in any similar symptoms in the future so I receive immediate medical intervention. As it turns out, I have not suffered another brain infection. I am now an advocate of public information and awareness of all meningitis illness.
For more information on symptoms, treatment and prevention of Meningitis: