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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:

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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.

    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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