Unmasking Meningitis: A Deep Dive into the Five Types

Type 2: Viral Meningitis – The Common Intruder

Viral Meningitis – The Common Intruder

Viral meningitis, often referred to as aseptic meningitis, is the most common form of the disease. Typically less severe than its bacterial counterpart, viral meningitis is most often caused by a group of viruses known as enteroviruses. These viruses are most common in late summer and early fall, and they are often spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions from an infected person.

Viral meningitis can be a master of disguise, often presenting with symptoms similar to the common flu: fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle aches. In some cases, more severe symptoms such as stiff neck, sensitivity to light, and seizures may occur. The deceptive nature of viral meningitis can make it challenging to diagnose, especially in the early stages.

While most people with viral meningitis typically recover on their own within 7-10 days, hospitalization may be required in severe cases or for individuals with weak immune systems. Complications are less common than in bacterial meningitis, but can still occur, particularly in infants and people with compromised immunity.

Unlike bacterial meningitis, there are no specific treatments for the viruses that cause viral meningitis. Most treatment approaches focus on relieving symptoms and providing supportive care, including rest, hydration, and over-the-counter pain relievers to help with body aches and fever.

Prevention strategies for viral meningitis largely center around good hygiene practices. Washing hands thoroughly and often, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces can significantly reduce the risk of infection. Vaccinations against certain viruses, such as mumps, measles, and influenza, can also help prevent viral meningitis. (2)

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