Migraine vs Meningitis – a common mistake in suffers

Severe headache accompanied by fever is always cause for concern. When fever and headache is combined with stiffness in the neck that prevents the patient from bending their head forward or causes severe pain, there are alarm bells ringing and immediate action should be taken to avoid tragedy. We can all create awareness about the warning signs for meningitis.

The most common causes of meningitis are viral and bacterial infections of the meninges (i.e. the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord) causing inflammation. It has some very specific symptoms.

A big red flag is a rash on the skin accompanied by a severe headache, fever and stiffness of the neck. This combination of symptoms in a patient is an almost certain sign that the patient is suffering from meningitis and may be in serious and imminent mortal danger. Other symptoms are flu-like and include sore throat, nausea, and sensitivity to light.

Of course there are other causes such as cancer, chemical irritation, fungi and drug allergies.

However, only bacterial and viral meningitis is contagious.

Complications of meningitis

  • seizures
  • hearing loss
  • brain damage
  • hydrocephalus
  • a subdural effusion, or a build-up of fluid between the brain and the skull

It is imperative that migraine sufferers familiarise themselves with the symptoms of meningitis

and seek medical attention should they have any suspicions.


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