Meningitis in Adults


What symptoms did you experience with meningitis? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Christine, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 22

Oddly enough, in fall of 2012, my husband got really sick. He had a 104 fever, severe headache, sweating and this is a guy that never admits he is sick. He looked terrible. I took him to the emergency room (ER) and the doctor said it was a sinus infection, which I knew it wasn't. I told him I thought it was meningitis and he said 'I see it every 10 years and it is not enough for me to stick a needle in his spine,’ and sent him home. Next day, he went back and guess what, I was right! They were wrong. I knew it!

Comment from: Siyabonga, 25-34 (Patient) Published: April 06

My boyfriend is at the hospital with meningitis. They admitted him on Wednesday, he was complaining about headache and his temperature was so high, and he was vomiting the whole night. Even now he complains about headaches during the night and he can’t sleep.

Comment from: Brandy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 03

I had bacterial meningitis at age 12. Symptoms were high fever, body aches, rash, tiredness, and I couldn't bend my knees. Currently I have viral meningitis at age 37. Symptoms are Bell's palsy, muscles aches and twitching, joint pain, headaches, respiratory problems, tiredness, general weakness, concentration problems or brain fog, earaches, and light sensitivity. The palsy comes with its own set of problems; sensitivity to sound, can't close my eye, jaw pain, eye socket pain, trouble eating, and tongue numbness.

Comment from: Nyckole27, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 08

My symptoms of meningitis were severe headache, neck and back pain, and sensitivity to light and sounds. I slept for 2 days straight. I was starving and ate everything but it all would come back up.

Comment from: SarahJ, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 04

I had a fever of 39 for a week with no other meningitis symptoms other than exhaustion and poor appetite (but could carry on going to work). Fever would not really come down with paracetamol. Then came a stiff neck and slight headache on day 10 and by day 12 my head was splitting with the pain and vomiting started, with severe pressure behind my eyes. The temperature had gone at this stage. I went to Accident and Emergency and was diagnosed with viral meningitis. I spent a week in hospital and am recovering slowly.

Comment from: Barbara, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 12

My 25 year old daughter was having headaches, weakness and high fever. She was given a spinal tap that came back normal, now one week later she is having the same symptoms of meningitis,

Comment from: Freedom, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: August 27

I have had constant headache that doesn't go away for a single second, dry mouth, and swollen hands for more than one month. Other meningitis symptoms are numbing and tingling of hands and feet, along with nausea all the time. My eyeball is also paining a lot and I feel very weak. The back of my body is paining a lot and some constipation is observed.

Comment from: Gerald, 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 07

Headache, midnight cold and neck pain were my symptoms of meningitis.

Comment from: Rachel , 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 25

Raging Fever, vomiting severe headache and passing in and out of consciousness were my symptoms of meningitis.

Comment from: Loucol, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 26

I had excruciating unrelenting headache, unlike anything I'd ever experienced, photophobia and fever with meningitis.

Comment from: Ram, 0-2 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 09

Back pain, neck pain and unconsciousness were my symptoms of meningitis.

Comment from: SmackmyCass, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 15

It started with a headache. A really bad headache, and I was first diagnosed with a sinus infection. I started antibiotics for a sinus infection. Three days later, now with a headache, earache, stiff neck, fever, dizziness and nausea, I drove myself to the emergency room. A spinal tap was performed. Diagnosis viral meningitis. I was admitted to the hospital for 3 days. After my discharge I still had all my original symptoms and my legs, feet and mouth/nose went numb. Two weeks later I have made very little progress.


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Comment from: Marti, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 19

My symptoms of meningitis were headaches, dizziness, chills, and nausea.

Comment from: viv, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I had ear ache and headache, went to the doctor, and was given drops. Twelve hours later I went to the emergency room and it was bacterial meningitis. From local hospital I was taken to a bigger one. I had brain surgery, and lost a lot of my bone. Lucky to be alive. I was in hospital 3 weeks. I have no issues. Thanks to the great doctors.

Comment from: Cautious Old Guiy, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: May 30

I woke up on a Saturday morning in December 1965 with a severe headache. I was sure it was only a hangover. Being a young man of 21, I basically dismissed it and went skiing. Of course I took aspirin before I left. When I got to the ski area I still had the headache so I took more aspirin. After one run, I took more aspirin and decided to bag it and go home. My headache was the worst one I had ever experienced. I woke up Sunday morning with the headache being even worse. When I went to work on Monday it felt like my head was going to explode. At about noon I went to the doctor. He gave me some medication to relieve the pain. I had no other symptoms of meningitis. I woke up Tuesday morning and my headache was gone, but I had severe chills and fever. I saw the doctor again and he told me to go home and get rest. By Wednesday morning I had chills, fever, and extreme nausea. I couldn't eat anything because it would come right back up. Finally, about noon on Friday I felt almost human again. I actually ate dinner and felt good; for a little while. Within an hour I vomited and then went to bed, with all my clothes on except my shoes. I had blankets piled on top of me but I couldn't get warm. Fortunately I had a friend who checked up on me and took me to the hospital. At the hospital I couldn't even hold a pen in my hand to sign myself in. I don't remember much after that except coming to in a wheelchair in the elevator as they took me to a room. The next thing I remember was trying to get into that hospital gown. The next thing, I woke up and was lying on a stainless steel table completely naked. There was a rubber glove filled with ice under each arm and one in my crotch. There were nurses there swabbing me with alcohol and ice to try to get my fever down. My temperature at that point was 105.8 F. At about 3:00 am I began to feel it when they touched me with the cold packs, and it actually felt good. They then did a lumbar puncture. I spent the next week in isolation in the hospital. I wasn't allowed any visitors. For several days I was perspiring so badly that they had to change the sheets every 2 to 3 hours. During that week in the hospital, other than the IV, I drank one glass of milk and ate half a dish of ice cream. They released me on Christmas Eve. I still had a temperature of 101 F. I was so weak I couldn't even walk from the hospital to the street. At the beginning of this nightmare I weighed 175 lb. When I got out of the hospital I was down to 145 lb. It was actually several weeks later before they finally found out what it was I had. My doctor informed me that most people with that high a temperature for that long didn't make it. He said that those who didn't die usually had permanent brain damage. I assured him that it was okay because on me nobody would know the difference. To this day if I get a bad headache I begin to worry that I might have meningitis again.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 05

It was December 20th and I came home from Christmas shopping. I told my husband I had an earache and was going to bed. By the next morning he found me unresponsive and sideways on the bed. By the time the paramedics arrived they found me with 103 temperature and could not wake me and my blood pressure was dangerously high. I woke up on December 23rd with a PICC line and in the ICU with a diagnosis of strep/pneumococcal meningitis. I spent 8 days in the hospital and came home on the 28th with PICC line and outpatient antibiotics. The fast response of my husband kept me alive.

Comment from: Carrie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 18

I have a heart transplant and am immune suppressed. I had a headache for 3 weeks, went to the doctor and he said stress. I went to a different doctor a week later and he said that he couldn't find anything wrong. After 3 or 4 weeks, my fever shot up to 103. My mother took me to the emergency room and they did a spinal. I had 2 kinds of meningitis at the same time. They said I got it from dressing a deer. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks and my chances were 50/50. It I lost 20 lb. and it took me almost 6 months to recover. I was fortunate.

Comment from: frustratedgma, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 07

I have a history of migraines. At one point my doctor made me go to emergency room (ER) because of symptoms of meningitis. The doctors at the ER said they did not want to do spinal tap, and treated me for migraine, that was it. I have had neck pain and doctors just say take muscle relaxer and ibuprofen. I have no fever but I feel sluggish. I have severe neck pain but the doctor wants me to go see an orthopedist. I think it is something worse, and I don’t know how to get a real doctor to diagnose me.

Comment from: Gill, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: October 29

Headache, neck and shoulder pain, and leg pain are my symptoms of meningitis.

Comment from: Kirei, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: September 18

His meningitis symptoms are headache and earache, and he also has cough.

Comment from: Dizzy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

My neck hurts so badly since last night. I feel sore all over. I feel like I have the flu. No fever though. And I'm nauseous. I went to the doctor and he thinks it's a neck sprain. He gave me a shot of Toradol and a steroid and sent me on my way. I'm worried about my neck pain and it being meningitis. Wondering if I should go back and get a second opinion.

Comment from: Juliec, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

After my 2nd day on antibiotics for meningitis, now I am getting chills.

Comment from: Tam, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 30

I am looking for a doctor who will do the test for meningitis. I started with ear popping headache, tiredness, a low grade fever 99.0 for 3 weeks, rash on my neck with cold sensation, and rash on my chin. I was told I have a virus, was given antiviral medications, then told to stop taking them, given antibiotics for urinary tract infection, and then told to not take that. I have welts on my face now and, always told to wait two weeks and new symptoms come. This is the next two weeks, and I am dizzy, etc.

Comment from: April Dickens Alsip, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 17

I have been spiking fever for 2 days of 101.8. I have a headache on the top of my head, in the back of my head, and lower back pain with chills. I wonder if these are meningitis symptoms.

Comment from: Clarice , 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 18

I have neck pain and a very bad headache and my head hurts worse when I bend over. I am worried if these are symptoms of meningitis.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 17

I had a bad earache and just thought I was getting a cold. I took a bath and went to bed. The next morning, I got up to go to work but I was extremely lethargic. My husband kept asking me what was wrong and finally, when I couldn't answer him, he called 911. I couldn't answer the paramedic’s questions correctly on the way to the hospital. I was almost unconscious by the time I arrived at the hospital. I did not have a fever, or more obvious symptoms. The nurse said there was one more test, a spinal tap. The fluid showed I had Bacterial Meningitis. The next 24 hours were crucial. I was on 4 antibiotics until they found the one that would treat my bacteria. I was in the hospital 5 days and had a pic line in my arm to receive IV antibiotics for 14 more days. Without my husband's quick actions, I would not be here today. He saved my life!

Comment from: Hari, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: October 31

I had fever and headache and then started to have antibiotic for three days as the doctor recommended. After three days I have another problem; pain in backbone, arms and legs. I had the same problem one month ago and I had to have the same medicine. I got fit too but now I am weak. I am wondering if it is meningitis.

Comment from: Mace, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 11

I have body pains, headaches, and my neck is stiff and paining. I am worried if it might be meningitis.

Comment from: Kerry, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 14

For 2 weeks my head and neck have ached. Also I have chills and no energy. I went to the doctor and was told to rest and drink water, and that was a week ago. I am worried I might have meningitis.

Comment from: S.Nair, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

I have piercing earache on the right side, my head is throbbing with pain, and my neck is stiff and painful to move. Doctor found my ear infected and my throat as well. He gave me steroids for my pain. But the pain persists. I don't know what to do and worried about meningitis. I'm taking antibiotics as well.

Comment from: Etienne , 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 20

I had viral meningitis for the 6th time in 12 years a few months ago. The doctor told me to take Valtrex 1000 milligram two time day for rest of my life so it will prevent recurrent meningitis.

Comment from: Ems, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 11

I've got a bit of a cold, my chest is sore, and it is hard to breathe; feels a bit blocked and my body is sore and feels very tight. My neck, jaw and back feel so tight and sore. Also my bones are in pain and they feel cold and tight. I am worried about meningitis.

Comment from: sam, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: November 20

I am feeling very tired, have body fatigue, fever, and neck pain. I took a tablet but it is not working.

Comment from: ShiMulan, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 19

My daughter, 39 years old, developed bacterial meningitis after surgery for ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), knee and tibial fracture, where supplemental anesthesia was administered via spinal.

Comment from: Deb, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

My symptoms started as flu-like. I became more lethargic over 24 hours. I had an extreme headache and neck pain with increasing weakness in left leg when I walked. Confusion set in once I arrived at the ER.

Comment from: Jennifer, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 05

I was actually 6 months pregnant. I had a terrible headache for about three days. It was different from any other headache I had experienced because it was concentrated in the very top of my head. I felt as if the top of my head were going to blow off. Since I was pregnant I could only take acetaminophen, and that had no effect on it. I didn't have the stiff neck though. After about three days of that headache, I just collapsed. I couldn't get out of bed, I began vomiting profusely, and I spiked a temperature of 105. I was also delirious and even paranoid. I was taken to the ER and instantly admitted -- no waiting. The next few days are a blur. I know they could not keep my fever below 105 even though they were giving me acetaminophen every four hours. I remember the lumbar puncture, which ideally should not have been performed on a pregnant woman. I was given both antiviral and antibiotic meds through IV. They concluded my meningitis was viral, but the specific virus was never identified. Had it been bacterial I'm sure my baby and I would have died. Even so, it took me weeks to get back any strength, and I remained weak and nauseated for the rest of my pregnancy, which had been normal prior to the meningitis. FYI, my daughter is fine and suffered no ill effects.

Comment from: Tee, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 29

I went to work lethargic, with a headache and stiff neck. I was able to touch my chin to my chest. I had a fever of over 103 degrees until I started vomiting and passed out at home. I had one ER visit and was sent home with Fioricet. I passed out again several days later with a fever of over 103 degrees until I was admitted to the hospital. The pain was the worse I ever had in life. I was treated with IV antibiotics and antiviral medications.

Comment from: h2olily, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 12

One of my best friends in the 90s told me she had survived both bacterial and viral spinal meningitis. The second time she had it she was able to walk into the hospital and ask to be admitted for spinal meningitis. The skeptical staff asked how she knew and she told them she knew from previous symptom, as she was unable to touch her chin to her chest. They isolated her immediately.

Comment from: happy blessed, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 22

Fever, chills, headache, and stiffness in my neck. I had a spinal tap done and was diagnosed. I am waiting on cultures to return to rule out viral or bacterial.

Comment from: JenRan, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 09

I had an extreme headache, neck pain, an ear infection and also seizures.

Comment from: wusmudder, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

Was raking leaves (October). Suddenly it felt like I had been slammed with a large hammer between eyebrows. Ambulance to the ER. Inside of my skull hurt worse than any pain I've ever had. I wished I would pass out. Tears rolled down my face. Hypersensitive to light. IV administered morphine. Diagnosed with viral meningitis. Was inpatient for 4.5 days.

Comment from: pugmom, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 10

Severe headache, nausea and vomiting, photophobia, fever, and chills.

Comment from: 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 11

I had an extreme headache and a stiff neck. Also had an ear infection and was on antibiotics for that. I was taking a drug that suppressed my immune system. I was found by son unconscious and I had thrown up and from what I was told, I had a couple seizures. I do not remember anything for the first two to three weeks after that.

Comment from: Nannah02, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 08

My symptoms started out like the flu. On Sunday the skin on the back of my thighs started to hurt if I touched it and I had a headache. Monday I went to work and gradually started to feel worse with body aches , headache , dizziness , chills, pain in my neck and when I would walk I had pain in my spine. Tuesday I woke up with a migraine headache and upset stomach. I still tried to shower and get ready for work, but I was feeling very weak and tired with all the same symptoms I had on Monday. My migraine kept getting worse and several times I felt like throwing up. My friend took me to a walk-in clinic and I told the doctor my symptoms. They tested me for the flu and it came back negative. She then suspected spinal meningitis because of the pain in my neck and lower back. I could not touch my chin to my chest without it hurting my neck. I was then sent to the ER, where they did a CT scan and it came back fine so they did the lumbar exam and it came back positive for viral . They gave me two IV bags of two different kinds of strong antibiotics and gave me the choice of either being admitted or going home. I chose to go home so they prescribed a pain medication and steroids.

Comment from: Readytogohome, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: May 11

I started off with symptoms of a cold which passed in a day. The next morning I had severe diarrhea and that evening came down with a brutal headache. I never get headaches so I took Ibuprofen. It helped some, but I woke up the next morning with severe pain in my head and neck. Like a stubborn fool I tried to work and had to leave early. By noon my head was really throbbing. I went to pharmacist who gave me Tylenol for migraines. I went home and laid in dark. Nausea came next and pain was getting severe. I ended up driving to ER where my head hurt so bad I wanted to crack it open.

Comment from: Debbie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 18

For a few days I had what I thought was a cold. I got weaker by the day and wanted to do nothing but sleep. I developed an earache and my husband took me to urgent care. I had a temperature of 102; a right ear infection, nausea, and headache. The doctor checked for neck stiffness and at that time I had none. I was sent home with ear drops and antibiotics. I awoke the next morning with really bad neck stiffness, headache, bleeding ear and horrible nausea. I couldn't raise my head. My husband checked on me a few hours after medication and found me with my eyes open but unresponsive. The local hospital was unable to get a spinal tap on me, but a doctor suspected bacterial meningitis, contacted UVA medical center and IV antibiotics were started at that time. I was airlifted to UVA. I woke up 11 days later in a hospital not knowing how I had gotten there. I had to go through some rehabilitation and was sent home with PICC line and 30 days of two very strong antibiotics.

Comment from: Rosebud, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 16

I thought I had the flu, but as the days went on my condition became worse. I was so sore all over. The pain in my neck became unbearable. It hurt to walk. Then came the migraine headaches. It became so unbearable I finally had my friend bring me to hospital. They took me in right away and the doctor on call said, “ I think you may have meningitis and we need to do a spinal tap right away. “ By this time I was vomiting because the pain was so bad. I was terrified as I had a young daughter and was worried if it was contagious. The spinal tap determined that I did have meningitis but there was nothing they could give me as at the time there was no medicine or antibiotic.

Comment from: TiredInTexas, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 21

I started out thinking I had a cold, so took cold medications. They would lower my fever and at times my fever would break. I thought I was finally over this and went on my way. About a week later I again got sick and started taking cold medicines again. I never could get my fever to break, had dry heaves most of the time. I wanted to sleep all the time. I had headaches and my neck was bothering me. I thought I was sleeping a lot due to be being sick and my body needed the rest. I thought my headaches were due to the "cold" and my neck was due to me needing an adjustment. I was still trying to make it work, but did miss some days. I finally felt so bad I went to the Urgent Care in the hospital. By the time I saw a doctor my fever was 103. As it turned out, they took me to the ER where the doctor did a spinal tap and CT scan. The scan showed I had a severe sinus infection, and the tap showed I had meningitis. It was later told to me that I had bacterial meningitis. I was in the hospital for a week.

Comment from: nikki, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 17

When I had meningitis, I had back, neck pain with migraine headaches and a fever.

Comment from: acarter2149, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 13

I had extreme sensitivity to light, sounds, an extremely painful headache. I have stiffness in my neck and back.

Comment from: Sailvicariouskat, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I was 25 in Atlanta, in 1993, a waitress and one say about 1/2 way through the dinner shift my legs started aching, then hurting so vastly I had to go home. The next day I felt like I had the flu and then felt better enough to have dinner. I went to bed fully expecting to feel better and woke with a horrible migraine. I called my mom and for some reason she took it very seriously and called our family doctor who was out of town but the doctor on call happened to be an expert in spinal meningitis! She took one look and tested for neck stiffness and then prepped me for a spinal tap in her office. The protein count was just high enough to not rule out bacterial, but I had no insurance so my mom set up a nurse to come to her house to administer antibiotics. I was in pain everywhere. I dry heaved for two weeks straight. I hallucinated, went to the ER for respiratory depression. I had to have blankets nailed over the windows. I was writhing in pain for a full month. I know if I had been in a hospital I would have died. My mom slept in the room with me. Having constant human contact kept me alive. I was in bed for a month and a half. I still have severe photosensitivity, but of the two other people who got it the same week as me. One lost a hand; another, a foot.

Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 12

I had what I thought was the flu all week long, but it wasn't bad enough to keep me from working. I had the usual symptoms such as aches, sweats, chills, fatigue. Then I got an earache and blood oozed from that ear. Later that night I had the worst headache of my life, then I started throwing up. The next day I didn't get up so my wife let me sleep because I hadn't been feeling well. She checked on me at about 4pm and I had my eyes open but would not respond. So the call went out to 911. I was in the ICU for four days on a respirator, and seven more days on the regular floor. I went home with three more days of IV antibiotics, then about 45 days of two different antibiotics by mouth.

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 04

My symptoms of Viral Meningitis were: Numbness in both arms and legs, and numbness in my mouth. I've never had severe headaches or ever been diagnosed with migraines. However, with the meningitis I had severe headaches, couldn't stand light or sound. The numbness and headaches were the first symptoms and the vomiting came last. I spent 7 days in the hospital for the viral meningitis.

Comment from: Phoenix, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: March 23

At first I thought it was strep throat. Then when that came back negative we thought it maybe mono. When that test came back negative it was advised that if the headache was getting worse even with strong pain medication, to go to an emergency room ASAP. After being seen and tested viral meningitis was the cause. The main symptoms were like that of the flu, minus the sinus congestion. Being weak and very tired was a big sign, then progressively experiencing the worst headache of my life was a sure give away. Some soreness and stiff neck, but the headache and malaise were the giveaways. This has been an experience that I will never forget and never want to experience again. Recovery took about 60 days and a year later I still have some damage that is still repairing.

Comment from: 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: March 16

My father in law is currently hospitalized with bacterial meningitis. Symptoms started less than 24 hours after a surgical procedure and use of spinal anesthesia. Symptoms were profuse vomiting, fever, severe shaking, confusion, and extreme weakness. Neck stiffness occured after arrival at ER. He also became unconscious and remained that way for approx. 24-36 hours.

Comment from: (Patient) Published: May 31

My friend Julie's Daughter, Susan passed away 2month ago on March 16th. She was diagnosed having Bacterial Meningitis. She did not have any of the classic symptoms other than extreme back and leg pain. None one paid any attention to this on several trips to the hospital as back pain is considered normal for us. But it was not for my Susan and I am very disappointed in the system as it pushed us out the door and I lost my daughter. The Hospital each time we went with worsening of these symptoms dismissed us and send us home. Now I am home and Susan is not.

Comment from: 45-54 Female Published: March 09

An acquaintance, which happens to work for a local laboratory as a venupunctualist developed what she thought was a migraine. A Locum was called by her to her home and he sent her to the Hospital in Adelaide. The Doctor who examined her sent her home. She then went to a second hospital and was again sent home. She went back to the other Hospital the next day and finally they took her symptoms seriously and admitted her and diagnosed Viral Meningitis. She was placed in an induced coma and treated, and when stable went to a rehabilitation center to learn to walk again. They have told her she may develop Multiple Sclerosis because of the Meningitis.

Comment from: Karen, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 12

Stiff neck and severe headache. Also nausea and eventually vomiting. The headache was the worst I've ever experienced both in the front and especially in the back of the head. After two weeks, I am over those symptoms but still fatigued and get a headache is I get really tired.

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