Meningitis in Adults

Question:

What symptoms did you experience with meningitis? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 05

It was December 20th and I came home from Christmas shopping. I told my husband I had an earache and was going to bed. By the next morning he found me unresponsive and sideways on the bed. By the time the paramedics arrived they found me with 103 temperature and could not wake me and my blood pressure was dangerously high. I woke up on December 23rd with a PICC line and in the ICU with a diagnosis of strep/pneumococcal meningitis. I spent 8 days in the hospital and came home on the 28th with PICC line and outpatient antibiotics. The fast response of my husband kept me alive.

Comment from: Carrie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 18

I have a heart transplant and am immune suppressed. I had a headache for 3 weeks, went to the doctor and he said stress. I went to a different doctor a week later and he said that he couldn't find anything wrong. After 3 or 4 weeks, my fever shot up to 103. My mother took me to the emergency room and they did a spinal. I had 2 kinds of meningitis at the same time. They said I got it from dressing a deer. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks and my chances were 50/50. It I lost 20 lb. and it took me almost 6 months to recover. I was fortunate.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 17

I had a bad earache and just thought I was getting a cold. I took a bath and went to bed. The next morning, I got up to go to work but I was extremely lethargic. My husband kept asking me what was wrong and finally, when I couldn't answer him, he called 911. I couldn't answer the paramedic's questions correctly on the way to the hospital. I was almost unconscious by the time I arrived at the hospital. I did not have a fever, or more obvious symptoms. The nurse said there was one more test, a spinal tap. The fluid showed I had Bacterial Meningitis. The next 24 hours were crucial. I was on 4 antibiotics until they found the one that would treat my bacteria. I was in the hospital 5 days and had a pic line in my arm to receive IV antibiotics for 14 more days. Without my husband's quick actions, I would not be here today. He saved my life!

Comment from: sam, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: November 20

I am feeling very tired, have body fatigue, fever, and neck pain. I took a tablet but it is not working.

Comment from: ShiMulan, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 19

My daughter, 39 years old, developed bacterial meningitis after surgery for ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), knee and tibial fracture, where supplemental anesthesia was administered via spinal.

Comment from: Deb, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

My symptoms started as flu-like. I became more lethargic over 24 hours. I had an extreme headache and neck pain with increasing weakness in left leg when I walked. Confusion set in once I arrived at the ER.

Comment from: Jennifer, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 05

I was actually 6 months pregnant. I had a terrible headache for about three days. It was different from any other headache I had experienced because it was concentrated in the very top of my head. I felt as if the top of my head were going to blow off. Since I was pregnant I could only take acetaminophen, and that had no effect on it. I didn't have the stiff neck though. After about three days of that headache, I just collapsed. I couldn't get out of bed, I began vomiting profusely, and I spiked a temperature of 105. I was also delirious and even paranoid. I was taken to the ER and instantly admitted -- no waiting. The next few days are a blur. I know they could not keep my fever below 105 even though they were giving me acetaminophen every four hours. I remember the lumbar puncture, which ideally should not have been performed on a pregnant woman. I was given both antiviral and antibiotic meds through IV. They concluded my meningitis was viral, but the specific virus was never identified. Had it been bacterial I'm sure my baby and I would have died. Even so, it took me weeks to get back any strength, and I remained weak and nauseated for the rest of my pregnancy, which had been normal prior to the meningitis. FYI, my daughter is fine and suffered no ill effects.

Comment from: Tee, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 29

I went to work lethargic, with a headache and stiff neck. I was able to touch my chin to my chest. I had a fever of over 103 degrees until I started vomiting and passed out at home. I had one ER visit and was sent home with Fioricet. I passed out again several days later with a fever of over 103 degrees until I was admitted to the hospital. The pain was the worse I ever had in life. I was treated with IV antibiotics and antiviral medications.

Comment from: h2olily, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 12

One of my best friends in the 90s told me she had survived both bacterial and viral spinal meningitis. The second time she had it she was able to walk into the hospital and ask to be admitted for spinal meningitis. The skeptical staff asked how she knew and she told them she knew from previous symptom, as she was unable to touch her chin to her chest. They isolated her immediately.

Comment from: happy blessed, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 22

Fever, chills, headache, and stiffness in my neck. I had a spinal tap done and was diagnosed. I am waiting on cultures to return to rule out viral or bacterial.

Comment from: JenRan, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 09

I had an extreme headache, neck pain, an ear infection and also seizures.

Comment from: wusmudder, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

Was raking leaves (October). Suddenly it felt like I had been slammed with a large hammer between eyebrows. Ambulance to the ER. Inside of my skull hurt worse than any pain I've ever had. I wished I would pass out. Tears rolled down my face. Hypersensitive to light. IV administered morphine. Diagnosed with viral meningitis. Was inpatient for 4.5 days.

Comment from: pugmom, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 10

Severe headache, nausea and vomiting, photophobia, fever, and chills.

Comment from: 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 11

I had an extreme headache and a stiff neck. Also had an ear infection and was on antibiotics for that. I was taking a drug that suppressed my immune system. I was found by son unconscious and I had thrown up and from what I was told, I had a couple seizures. I do not remember anything for the first two to three weeks after that.

Comment from: Nannah02, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 08

My symptoms started out like the flu. On Sunday the skin on the back of my thighs started to hurt if I touched it and I had a headache. Monday I went to work and gradually started to feel worse with body aches , headache , dizziness , chills, pain in my neck and when I would walk I had pain in my spine. Tuesday I woke up with a migraine headache and upset stomach. I still tried to shower and get ready for work, but I was feeling very weak and tired with all the same symptoms I had on Monday. My migraine kept getting worse and several times I felt like throwing up. My friend took me to a walk-in clinic and I told the doctor my symptoms. They tested me for the flu and it came back negative. She then suspected spinal meningitis because of the pain in my neck and lower back. I could not touch my chin to my chest without it hurting my neck. I was then sent to the ER, where they did a CT scan and it came back fine so they did the lumbar exam and it came back positive for viral . They gave me two IV bags of two different kinds of strong antibiotics and gave me the choice of either being admitted or going home. I chose to go home so they prescribed a pain medication and steroids.

Comment from: Readytogohome, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: May 11

I started off with symptoms of a cold which passed in a day. The next morning I had severe diarrhea and that evening came down with a brutal headache. I never get headaches so I took Ibuprofen. It helped some, but I woke up the next morning with severe pain in my head and neck. Like a stubborn fool I tried to work and had to leave early. By noon my head was really throbbing. I went to pharmacist who gave me Tylenol for migraines. I went home and laid in dark. Nausea came next and pain was getting severe. I ended up driving to ER where my head hurt so bad I wanted to crack it open.

Comment from: Debbie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 18

For a few days I had what I thought was a cold. I got weaker by the day and wanted to do nothing but sleep. I developed an earache and my husband took me to urgent care. I had a temperature of 102; a right ear infection, nausea, and headache. The doctor checked for neck stiffness and at that time I had none. I was sent home with ear drops and antibiotics. I awoke the next morning with really bad neck stiffness, headache, bleeding ear and horrible nausea. I couldn't raise my head. My husband checked on me a few hours after medication and found me with my eyes open but unresponsive. The local hospital was unable to get a spinal tap on me, but a doctor suspected bacterial meningitis, contacted UVA medical center and IV antibiotics were started at that time. I was airlifted to UVA. I woke up 11 days later in a hospital not knowing how I had gotten there. I had to go through some rehabilitation and was sent home with PICC line and 30 days of two very strong antibiotics.

Comment from: Rosebud, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 16

I thought I had the flu, but as the days went on my condition became worse. I was so sore all over. The pain in my neck became unbearable. It hurt to walk. Then came the migraine headaches. It became so unbearable I finally had my friend bring me to hospital. They took me in right away and the doctor on call said, “ I think you may have meningitis and we need to do a spinal tap right away. “ By this time I was vomiting because the pain was so bad. I was terrified as I had a young daughter and was worried if it was contagious. The spinal tap determined that I did have meningitis but there was nothing they could give me as at the time there was no medicine or antibiotic.

Comment from: TiredInTexas, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 21

I started out thinking I had a cold, so took cold medications. They would lower my fever and at times my fever would break. I thought I was finally over this and went on my way. About a week later I again got sick and started taking cold medicines again. I never could get my fever to break, had dry heaves most of the time. I wanted to sleep all the time. I had headaches and my neck was bothering me. I thought I was sleeping a lot due to be being sick and my body needed the rest. I thought my headaches were due to the "cold" and my neck was due to me needing an adjustment. I was still trying to make it work, but did miss some days. I finally felt so bad I went to the Urgent Care in the hospital. By the time I saw a doctor my fever was 103. As it turned out, they took me to the ER where the doctor did a spinal tap and CT scan. The scan showed I had a severe sinus infection, and the tap showed I had meningitis. It was later told to me that I had bacterial meningitis. I was in the hospital for a week.

Comment from: nikki, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 17

When I had meningitis, I had back, neck pain with migraine headaches and a fever.

Comment from: acarter2149, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 13

I had extreme sensitivity to light, sounds, an extremely painful headache. I have stiffness in my neck and back.

Comment from: Sailvicariouskat, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I was 25 in Atlanta, in 1993, a waitress and one say about 1/2 way through the dinner shift my legs started aching, then hurting so vastly I had to go home. The next day I felt like I had the flu and then felt better enough to have dinner. I went to bed fully expecting to feel better and woke with a horrible migraine. I called my mom and for some reason she took it very seriously and called our family doctor who was out of town but the doctor on call happened to be an expert in spinal meningitis! She took one look and tested for neck stiffness and then prepped me for a spinal tap in her office. The protein count was just high enough to not rule out bacterial, but I had no insurance so my mom set up a nurse to come to her house to administer antibiotics. I was in pain everywhere. I dry heaved for two weeks straight. I hallucinated, went to the ER for respiratory depression. I had to have blankets nailed over the windows. I was writhing in pain for a full month. I know if I had been in a hospital I would have died. My mom slept in the room with me. Having constant human contact kept me alive. I was in bed for a month and a half. I still have severe photosensitivity, but of the two other people who got it the same week as me. One lost a hand; another, a foot.

Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 12

I had what I thought was the flu all week long, but it wasn't bad enough to keep me from working. I had the usual symptoms such as aches, sweats, chills, fatigue. Then I got an earache and blood oozed from that ear. Later that night I had the worst headache of my life, then I started throwing up. The next day I didn't get up so my wife let me sleep because I hadn't been feeling well. She checked on me at about 4pm and I had my eyes open but would not respond. So the call went out to 911. I was in the ICU for four days on a respirator, and seven more days on the regular floor. I went home with three more days of IV antibiotics, then about 45 days of two different antibiotics by mouth.

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 04

My symptoms of Viral Meningitis were: Numbness in both arms and legs, and numbness in my mouth. I've never had severe headaches or ever been diagnosed with migraines. However, with the meningitis I had severe headaches, couldn't stand light or sound. The numbness and headaches were the first symptoms and the vomiting came last. I spent 7 days in the hospital for the viral meningitis.

Comment from: Phoenix, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: March 23

At first I thought it was strep throat. Then when that came back negative we thought it maybe mono. When that test came back negative it was advised that if the headache was getting worse even with strong pain medication, to go to an emergency room ASAP. After being seen and tested viral meningitis was the cause. The main symptoms were like that of the flu, minus the sinus congestion. Being weak and very tired was a big sign, then progressively experiencing the worst headache of my life was a sure give away. Some soreness and stiff neck, but the headache and malaise were the giveaways. This has been an experience that I will never forget and never want to experience again. Recovery took about 60 days and a year later I still have some damage that is still repairing.

Comment from: 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: March 16

My father in law is currently hospitalized with bacterial meningitis. Symptoms started less than 24 hours after a surgical procedure and use of spinal anesthesia. Symptoms were profuse vomiting, fever, severe shaking, confusion, and extreme weakness. Neck stiffness occured after arrival at ER. He also became unconscious and remained that way for approx. 24-36 hours.

Comment from: (Patient) Published: May 31

My friend Julie's Daughter, Susan passed away 2month ago on March 16th. She was diagnosed having Bacterial Meningitis. She did not have any of the classic symptoms other than extreme back and leg pain. None one paid any attention to this on several trips to the hospital as back pain is considered normal for us. But it was not for my Susan and I am very disappointed in the system as it pushed us out the door and I lost my daughter. The Hospital each time we went with worsening of these symptoms dismissed us and send us home. Now I am home and Susan is not.

Comment from: 45-54 Female Published: March 09

An acquaintance, which happens to work for a local laboratory as a venupunctualist developed what she thought was a migraine. A Locum was called by her to her home and he sent her to the Hospital in Adelaide. The Doctor who examined her sent her home. She then went to a second hospital and was again sent home. She went back to the other Hospital the next day and finally they took her symptoms seriously and admitted her and diagnosed Viral Meningitis. She was placed in an induced coma and treated, and when stable went to a rehabilitation center to learn to walk again. They have told her she may develop Multiple Sclerosis because of the Meningitis.

Comment from: Karen, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 12

Stiff neck and severe headache. Also nausea and eventually vomiting. The headache was the worst I've ever experienced both in the front and especially in the back of the head. After two weeks, I am over those symptoms but still fatigued and get a headache is I get really tired.

Patient Comments & Reviews

  • Meningitis in Adults - Medical Treatment

    What treatment did you receive for meningitis?

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REFERENCES:

Hasbun, R. "Meningitis." June 18, 2017. Medscape. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/232915-overview>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Multistate Outbreak of Fungal Meningitis and Other Infections –Healthcare Facilities." Oct. 29, 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis-facilities-map.html>.

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