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9 July 2010, 06:00
A Gloucestershire charity is warning cases of viral meningitis could rise as the good weather continues.
The Meningitis Trust, based in Stroud, is urging people to be aware of the signs and symptoms.
Viral meningitis can cause life-changing after-effects and although it is very rarely life-threatening, it can take people a long time to recover.
There isn’t a vaccine to prevent it, so vigilance is the key to keeping yourself and others around you safe this summer.
Bridie Taylor from the Meningitis Trust, says:
“Viral meningitis usually isn’t as serious as the bacterial form of the disease, however, while most people make a full recovery, some are left with serious and debilitating after-effects including damage to hearing, severe and recurring headaches, depression and extreme tiredness. We are urging people to be aware of the signs and symptoms and to act quickly if they are concerned about their health”.
In the initial stages, the signs and symptoms of viral meningitis are the same as bacterial meningitis; they include fever, headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, vomiting and diarrhoea, confusion and aching joints and muscles. In babies, refusing feeds, fretful and a moaning or high-pitched cry are also signs. The symptoms can appear in any order and some may not appear at all.
Like other viral illnesses, viral meningitis is not treatable with antibiotics – it requires plenty of bed rest, painkillers and good nursing care, however some cases may require urgent hospital treatment for testing.
The Trust also has free credit card sized signs and symptoms cards for people to keep in their wallets or purses. To get hold of one, simply call its freephone 24-hour nurse-staffed helpline on 0800 028 18 28, or visit the website at www.meningitis-trust.org. The Trust also has a viral meningitis factsheet, available to download from the same website.