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Aseptic Meningitis Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Classic symptoms of viral meningitis include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff, sore neck
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Sleepiness

In newborns and infants:

  • Inactivity
  • High fever (especially unexplained high fever)
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Feeding poorly or refusing to eat
  • Tautness or bulging of soft spots between skull bones
  • Difficulty awakening

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will focus on the nervous system. To help rule out other causes of the inflammation, such as a tumor, your doctor may order an:

  • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside of the body
  • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside of the body

To rule out bacterial meningitis, the following tests may be done:

  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) —removal of fluid from the lower spinal column to be tested for bacteria (bacterial cultures)
  • Other cultures—blood, urine, mucus, and/or pus from skin infections

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2022 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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