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"How long should viral meningitis last?"


My brother in law was diagnosed with viral meningitis a couple weeks ago after he went into the er with a terrible headache. This past Monday, we took him back to the er with another not as bad headache along with the left side of his body becoming numb. He had a cat scan as well as blood work done and the results came back fine. He was told again that it was viral meningitis and was prescribed hydrocodone (sp?) and seemed to be getting better. However, this morning, his headache is back full force and he seems disoriented. He was texting a friend and none of his messages made much sense. He would say things such as "I'm gotta pass about which of it is I'm of it" and "I'm scared about that aren't going I am going about". It seems to me after a couple of weeks of this that it should be getting better, not worse and experiencing more new symptoms. Is all this normal or should we be worried?


Please have him speak with his doctor about this immediately. While each disease process can take a different course, it is certainly concerning that he seems to be doing worse again after a period of feeling better and being more oriented. When a person has problems with speech or language, it can indicate a problem with a specific part of the brain.

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There are many different reasons that he could be having these symptoms, but it should be considered that this is a medical emergency until you have discussed these concerns with his doctor. That is because meningitis can have very serious consequences if it is not treated. While viral meningitis is sometimes not as likely to cause serious consequences as bacterial meningitis, it is still something that needs to be treated appropriately. Also, the fact that his symptoms have continued to get worse with only brief improvement while on steroids could suggest that something else is contributing to his symptoms. While there are many "worst case" possibilities, your doctor will need to discuss these with you as appropriate and complete further testing as needed. Sometimes there are procedures that can provide invaluable information in these cases and should be discussed. Please speak with his doctor.

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