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Meningitis - Treatment Overview

Most people with viral meningitis usually start getting better within 3 days of feeling sick, and they recover within 2 weeks. With mild cases of viral meningitis, you may only need home treatment, including drinking extra fluids and taking medicine for pain and fever.

Bacterial or severe viral meningitis may require treatment in a hospital, including:

Recommended Related to Children's Vaccines

Meningococcal Vaccine

Meningococcal disease is an infection caused by a strain of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. This nasty bug is one of the leading causes of bacterial meningitis in children aged 2 to 18 in the U.S. Meningococcal disease can include meningitis -- a serious, potentially life-threatening inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord -- and a life-threatening blood infection. Meningococcal disease can cause limb loss through amputation, hearing loss, problems with the nervous...

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  • Medicines such as antibiotics, corticosteroids, and medicines to reduce fever.
  • Oxygen therapy, if you have trouble breathing. To learn more, see Other Treatment.
  • Supportive care. In the hospital, doctors watch the person closely and provide care if needed. For example, you may need to drink extra liquids or get fluids in a vein (IV). To learn more, see Other Treatment.

Follow-up care

Most healthy adults who have recovered from meningitis don't need follow-up care.

But adults who have other medical problems that make them more likely to have long-term complications or get meningitis again should see their doctors after recovery.

Babies and children always need follow-up care after recovery. They need to be checked for long-term complications such as hearing loss.

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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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