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I is for Information you can Trust

7th May 2024

It’s Viral Meningitis Awareness Week (6 – 10 May) and today we’re focusing on the letter I, which stands for Information you can Trust.

i is for information you can trust

At Meningitis Now we hear every day some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding this disease – that it only affects babies and young children, for example, or that viral meningitis is always mild and that you’ll be back on your feet and fully operational within a few days.

If you want a trusted source of information then look no further than our website, where we explain clearly and concisely what meningitis is, how to recognise it and what to do if you suspect it. It includes a section focusing on the facts about viral meningitis, including …

  • It is estimated that there are thousands of cases each year in the UK.
  • Anyone can get viral meningitis but it is most common in babies and young children.
  • Viral meningitis symptoms can be similar to those of bacterial meningitis, so it is essential to seek urgent medical help if concerned.
  • Many different viruses can cause meningitis - enteroviruses are the most common.
  • Is viral meningitis contagious? It is not generally considered to be contagious – contact with someone who has the illness does not usually increase the risk of disease to others. Linked cases of viral meningitis are extremely unusual and almost all cases occur alone.
  • There is no specific treatment for most cases of viral meningitis. Patients need to be hydrated with fluids, given painkillers and allowed to rest in order to recover. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses.
  • Although most people will make a full recovery, the recovery process can be slow. Some can be left with life-changing after-effects.
  • After-effects can include headaches, exhaustion and memory loss.
  • Although there aren’t vaccines to prevent most cases, the MMR vaccine, which is given as part of the UK routine immunisation schedule, protects against measles, mumps and rubella viral infections. Prior to the use of this vaccine, mumps was a common cause of viral meningitis in children.

Get in touch with our nurse-led Helpline

And, if you still have questions, get in touch with our friendly and helpful nurse-led Helpline, who can provide emotional support, answer your questions and explain more about the support that Meningitis Now can provide.

That’s just what Naomi did. She told us: “The Meningitis Now Helpline was an absolute lifeline for me in the first few days when I came out of hospital. The Helpline nurse listened, talked and helped me to realise that everything I was experiencing was completely normal. I was advised to rest and be gentle with myself. This was all I needed to hear. They also told me to phone if I had any queries whatsoever. I called again with further questions about heightened senses and was again told that was also quite normal.

“I have understood that I am to take things at my own pace, not to stress and to learn to accept help.”

You can read her full story here.

Read more about our Support Services and contact the team through our nurse-led Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or by emailing helpline@meningitisnow.org.

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