Meningitis is swelling of the lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. A higher number of white blood cells is present during aseptic meningitis (AM). But the exact cause cannot be found.
AM may stem from:
- Partially treated bacterial meningitis
- Problems with the immune system
- Certain cancers
- Certain medicines, such as antibiotics
Your risk is higher if you have any of the problems listed above.
Other factors are:
- Being around someone who has been sick
- The season—common in the summer and early fall
- Working in a daycare or healthcare setting
Symptoms range from mild to severe. You may have:
- Fever and chills
- Sensitivity to light
- Stiff neck
- Nausea or vomiting
- Joint or muscle pain
- Belly pain
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history.
You may need to have:
- A physical
- Blood tests
- Lumbar puncture —to test the fluid around your brain and spine
Pictures may be taken. This can be done with:
Most people get better with time. Care depends on the cause. It may involve:
- Medicines to treat the cause of the infection
- Pain relievers
- Steroids to lower inflammation
Your doctor will stop any medicines that are causing problems.
Note: Aspirin is not advised for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
To lower your chance of AM:
Wash your hands
often, especially if you:
- Are around a person who has an infection
- Changed the diaper of an infant with an infection
- If you work in a childcare or healthcare setting, clean objects and surfaces
- Be sure all of your vaccinations are up-to-date
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 05/2018 -
- Update Date: 06/14/2018 -