THE UK’S leading meningitis charity is calling for those who have suffered from viral meningitis to be ‘Vocal about Viral’ to help dispel myths and misconceptions that this form of the disease is not dangerous and always ‘mild’.
Meningitis Now’s annual Viral Meningitis Awareness Week, between 1 and 7 May, seeks to raise awareness to inform the public, health professionals and employers about the true impact of the disease and the long-term problems it can bring.
Although rarely life-threatening viral meningitis, which is more common than bacterial meningitis, can make people very unwell and for some the after-effects can be life-changing.
Expert opinion suggests up to 6,000 people each year across the UK suffer from viral meningitis, an infection that causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. The majority of cases happen during the warmer months.
Symptoms of viral meningitis can include a severe headache, a dislike of bright lights, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting and confusion. The disease can affect anyone of any age.
Meningitis Now is urging anyone concerned about viral meningitis to seek medical help.
After-effects can include exhaustion, headaches, memory loss, depression, anxiety and hearing difficulties. Many sufferers need to take long periods off education or work, and struggle with the day-to-day tasks that most people take for granted.
Viral meningitis cannot be treated with antibiotics. Rehydration, painkillers and plenty of rest are the best remedy. Most people will make a full recovery. However, for some recovery can be slow and the after-effects long lasting.
These after-effects can be debilitating and just as likely to affect people’s day-to-day activities as those from bacterial meningitis, turning their emotional and economic lives upside down and affecting their ability to learn, play and work.
Bev Corbett, the charity’s Director of Information and Support, said: “It’s vital that everybody understands that viral meningitis can be serious and that those who experience it are not afraid to speak out about it and seek the support they need.
“For our Viral Meningitis Week we’re calling on everyone to Be #VocalAboutViral – and help raise awareness by talking about the disease.”
Meningitis Now has a range of free services to support individuals and their families after viral meningitis, including its Rebuilding Futures Fund, which provides financial and practical support for people of all ages affected by meningitis.
The charity also has free information and fact sheets about viral meningitis. Read more about the symptoms and after-effects and download the guides from the website www.MeningitisNow.org
If you have been affected by viral meningitis, contact the Meningitis Now Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or email [email protected] Do not suffer from viral meningitis alone.
Read viral meningitis stories and share yours on the Meningitis Now website.