Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"I was exposed to someone with Meningitis. Is this something to be worried?"
I just found out that someone in my family contracted Meningitis somehow and is being hospitalized. I was around this individual last on 11/30. It is now 12/10 and I don't have any symptoms but I am worried because I was exposed. I only gave him a hug hello and goodbye and didn't have any other contact. Should I see a doctor and ask for antibiotics as a precaution?
There are several types of meningitis: bacterial and viral. The one that is caused by bacteria is very serious, life threatening, and contagious. Your family member may have had bacteria meningitis. It is passed from person to person with close contact with the patient's oral secretions. People with close contact with the family member should get prophylactic medications. People who develop meningitis can develop a fever, headache, and neck pain. Though you have been symptom free for over a week, you should continue to monitor yourself for these symptoms. If any of these symptoms develop, you should see your doctor right away or even go to the emergency room as these can be life threatening. You should make an appointment with your primary care doctor to explain the specific contact you had with the family member with meningitis. Your doctor will then be able to determine if you need any medications to prevent it from developing. Other types of meningitis are caused by virus. They are not as lethal; however, they present with similar symptoms. There are no prophylactic medications for viral meningitis. People who are at risk for developing meningitis are people who live in dorms, or community homes. Again, please speak with your doctor.
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