Viral Meningitis Week - Advice from Dr. Ellie Cannon

4th May 2015

This week – 4 to 10 May - we are getting vocal about viral and we’d like you to join us to help dispel myths and misconceptions that the disease is not dangerous and always ‘mild’

Viral week

Meningitis Week - #VocalAboutViral

We’re delighted that television and celebrity doctor, Dr Ellie Cannon, is supporting this year’s Viral Meningitis Week.

She said:

“Viral Meningitis Week is all about getting people to talk about the disease, its symptoms and its after-effects. We want this year’s week to improve vital awareness of the disease and its true impact – with the public, health professionals and employers. Don’t sweep viral meningitis under the carpet – this year we want you to be Vocal About Viral.”

Viral meningitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. These membranes are called the meninges and they help protect the brain from injury and infection. Cases of the disease peak during the warmer months.

It can affect any age group and be caused by many different viruses. Knowing the symptoms to look for and seeking help quickly is the best way to look after yourself and your loved ones. Tell your doctor if you suspect viral meningitis.

Know the signs and symptoms

Viral meningitis is more common than bacterial meningitis and although rarely life-threatening, it can make people very unwell. Most people make a good recovery, but for some recovery can be slow and after-effects long lasting.

The symptoms associated with viral meningitis

  • Severe headache
  • Dislike of bright lights/photophobia
  • Neck stiffness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion and drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions/seizures

and are similar to those for the more serious bacterial meningitis, so it’s important to be checked out.

“As the symptoms of viral meningitis can be the same as for the more serious bacterial meningitis, it’s important that everyone knows what to look for and seeks medical help. Symptoms include a severe headache, a dislike of bright lights, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting and confusion. Carry a Meningitis Now symptoms card and protect yourself and your family.” 

Dr. Ellie Cannon

Read one of our featured stories this week here - Caitriona's story

Look out for more information on viral meningitis in the news section throughout the week and visit our VocalAboutViral pages here.