ZocdocAnswersDo I have the flu or something more serious like meningitis?

Question

Do I have the flu or something more serious like meningitis?

I just read about meningitis and I'm freaked out. I've had the flu for a week and a half and think its something more serious. Could I have meningitis? How do you even get it in the first place?

Answer

First of all let me say that I am sorry to hear that you have been ill for a week and a half. I am also sorry to hear that you are worried that you may have meningitis. I can give you some general information about meningitis, and if you continue to get worse, I would recommend making an appointment with your primary care physician to be evaluated. Meningitis is a term that is used to describe inflammation of the lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord called the meninges. There are multiple different things that can cause this inflammation, including viral or bacterial pathogens, fungus, and even chemicals. When most people talk about meningitis, they are referring to bacterial meningitis. However, any of the forms of meningitis can potentially be life threatening. Frequently meningitis presents with a fever, neck stiffness, headache, lethargy, and altered mental status. If you have developed these symptoms, I would recommend going to the emergency department to be evaluated. The risk of infection going from the lining of the brain to cause an actual brain infection can be high with meningitis. I hope that this information is helpful, and I wish you all the best.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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