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Meningitis - Home Treatment

Home treatment usually is all that is needed for most people who have viral meningitis. It includes:

  • Resting. Rest promotes healing and provides relief from symptoms such as headache. Quiet activities, such as reading books, playing board games, watching videos, or listening to music, help pass the time.
  • Reducing fever. Cool washcloths to the forehead, cool baths, and medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can be used to reduce fever, if needed.
  • Relieving headaches and muscle aches. Minor pain usually can be relieved with medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
  • Preventing dehydration. Drink liquids such as water, juices, teas, and rehydration drinks to keep from getting dehydrated. Children may enjoy frozen juice bars or snow cones. If a person vomits, he or she needs to avoid solid food and take frequent small sips of water or other liquids.
  • Watching for signs of complications during illness. The most common complications include fever lasting for longer than expected and seizures. Some people with complications during illness may need to be treated in a hospital.

When you or your child is recovering at home, watch for signs of long-term complications of meningitis, such as hearing loss.

Recommended Related to Children's Vaccines

Understanding Meningitis -- Diagnosis & Treatment

A procedure called a lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, will help determine whether someone has meningitis. During the procedure, an area of the lower back is injected with an anesthetic, and a needle is slipped between two bones in the spine to obtain a small sample of spinal fluid. The fluid is normally clear, so if it appears cloudy and contains white blood cells, you may have meningitis. Lab analysis will help determine which specific type of meningitis you have -- bacterial, viral, or fungal....

Read the Understanding Meningitis -- Diagnosis & Treatment article > >

    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: February 15, 2013
    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.
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