Skip to content

Brain & Nervous System Health Center

Font Size

Meningitis: Short-Term Problems - Topic Overview

Complications during illness with meningitis may include:

  • Prolonged fever. Fever caused by bacterial meningitis usually goes away after 3 to 6 days of treatment with antibiotics. Fever that continues after 6 days on antibiotics or that goes away and returns may mean that the antibiotic is not killing the bacteria. On rare occasions fever is caused by other conditions, including reactions to medicines used to treat meningitis.
  • Seizures. This complication can develop because of inflammation and swelling of the brain and tissues (meninges) surrounding the brain. Sometimes controlling seizures is difficult.
  • Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH). This complication of bacterial meningitis may develop 1 to 2 days after antibiotics have been started. SIADH causes large amounts of fluid to build up in the body. If SIADH is not treated, coma and death can occur.
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). This condition causes changes in the blood. At first, the blood clots too quickly. Then it clots too slowly, causing bleeding within the skin and tissues. DIC is life-threatening.
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome. This is a serious condition that begins suddenly. Fluid builds up in the lungs and causes breathing failure.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: December 06, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Meningitis: Short-Term Problems Topics

    Today on WebMD

    nerve damage
    Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
    senior woman with lost expression
    Know the early warning signs.
     
    woman in art gallery
    Tips to stay smart, sharp, and focused.
    medical marijuana plant
    What is it used for?
     
    senior man
    Article
    boy hits soccer ball with head
    Slideshow
     
    Graphic of active brain
    Article
    Vaccine and needle
    VIDEO
     
    brain illustration stroke
    Slideshow
    human brain
    Article
     
    most common stroke symptoms
    Article
    Graphic of number filled head and dna double helix
    Quiz