Management of Meningitis Pain

Meningitis is a serious, potentially fatal condition, although depending on the form – bacterial, viral, or fungal – the severity of the symptoms vary. Meningitis requires immediate treatment, but even then the recovery can be painful.

Viral meningitis is the less severe form of the illness, and its symptoms tend to be much more mild. Because of this, pain management is fairly simple. In fact, much of it can be done from the comfort of home. Over the counter drugs like acetaminophen (you’re probably more familiar with it by the name Tylenol) are usually sufficient to treat the pain. Getting enough rest and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids will help you recover faster and make you more comfortable.

Meningitis caused by bacterial infection is far more serious that its viral counterpart, so treatment and pain management are correspondingly more aggressive. Antibiotics and cortisone medication are part of the initial treatment; they are administered intravenously to reduce the risk of complication. Those complications include severe swelling in the brain and seizures, so minimizing the risk of their occurrence goes a long way toward managing pain that may occur as you recover.

In some cases of bacterial meningitis, the infection begins in or spreads to the sinuses or the mastoids (the small bones located in back of the outer ear, which connect to the inner ear); these cavities can fill with fluid. In that case, draining the fluid is necessary and will ease discomfort.

In bacterial meningitis as well as viral, sufficient rest and hydration are essential for both pain management and speeding recovery. Pain medication, whether prescription or over the counter, will likely be given to you.


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