A to Z: Meningitis, Viralenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P-khAZDictionary-enHD-AR1.jpgSometimes viruses can spread to the meninges, the membrane around the brain and spinal cord, and cause more severe illness. Learn about it here.Meningitis, viral meningitis, aseptic meningitis, meninges, brain, spinal cord, viruses, cerebrospinal fluid, enteroviruses, coxsackievirus, poliovirus, herpesvirus, fever, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, viral infection01/07/201504/08/201909/02/20197b1e5687-60e6-4bc0-b396-9ce39d0fca46https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/az-meningitis-viral.html/<p><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/dictionary/"><img class="right" title="Parents image" src="https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/buttons/P-atoZDictionary-enBT.jpg" alt="A to Z Dictionary 500 Go" name="5093-P_ATOZDICTIONARY2_ENBT.JPG" /></a></p> <p><strong>May also be called: Aseptic Meningitis</strong></p> <p>Viral <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/meningitis.html/">meningitis</a> (VY-rul meh-nin-JY-tus) is an inflammation of the meninges caused by a virus.</p> <h3>More to Know</h3> <p>Meningitis happens when the meninges, the membranes that cover the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/brain-nervous-system.html/">brain</a> and spinal cord, become infected, usually by <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/germs.html/">bacteria or viruses</a>. Viral meningitis (also called aseptic meningitis) is fairly common and usually less serious than <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/az-meningitis-bacterial.html/">bacterial meningitis</a>.</p> <p>Viruses that infect the skin, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/urinary.html/">urinary tract</a>, or digestive and respiratory systems can spread via the bloodstream to the meninges through cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the fluid that circulates in and around the spinal cord.</p> <p>Many different viruses can lead to viral meningitis, including <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/az-enterovirus.html/">enteroviruses</a> (such as <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coxsackie.html/">coxsackievirus</a> and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/polio.html/">poliovirus</a>), and the herpesvirus.</p> <p>Children with viral meningitis may have a&nbsp;fever, headache, sensitivity to light, fatigue, fussiness, nausea, neck stiffness, and vomiting. Because all of these symptoms look very similar to a common flu, it is not always easy to diagnose viral meningitis. To identify it, doctors may do a <a class="kh_anchor">lumbar puncture (spinal tap)</a> to get a sample of CSF for testing.</p> <p>There is no specific treatment for viral meningitis, but most people recover completely on their own within 7-10 days.</p> <h3>Keep in Mind</h3> <p>Viral meningitis is generally less serious than bacterial meningitis. Although severe cases may require hospital visits, viral meningitis often can be treated at home with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain medicine.</p> <p><em>All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.</em></p>
A to Z: Meningitis, BacterialLearn about this rare but serious condition in which bacteria invade the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/az-meningitis-bacterial.html/a870594e-68c0-4be1-8146-dfabe51d660b
Brain and Nervous SystemThe brain controls everything we do, and is often likened to the central computer within a vast, complicated communication network, working at lightning speed.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/brain-nervous-system.html/1e2a5004-5865-4069-97fd-5488c31075b9
Coxsackievirus InfectionsCoxsackievirus infections can spread from person to person. In most cases, the viruses cause mild flu-like symptoms, but can lead to more serious infections.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coxsackie.html/185944f5-ec45-432d-8542-ae1cc902a4b0
MeningitisYou may be wondering what the deal is with meningitis because you've heard frightening stuff about meningitis outbreaks in the news.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/meningitis.html/810ea9e2-c86a-4d28-a819-e48f10e7de35
Spinal Tap (Lumbar Puncture)Find out how and why doctors perform lumbar punctures (spinal taps).https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/emmi-lumbar-puncture.html/6ad693d3-91e2-433f-b05e-a61100673d7b
Word! Spinal TapA spinal tap is an important test for diagnosing illnesses, such as meningitis.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/word-spinal-tap.html/5cf07cb1-c23c-4dba-97bf-4608159746b4
kh:age-allAgesOrAgeAgnostickh:clinicalDesignation-infectiousDiseasekh:genre-dictionarykh:primaryClinicalDesignation-emergencyMedicineMhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/dictionary/m/2aba21ee-5cd5-4788-a60d-af36b997b6c6https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/buttons/P-atoZDictionary-enBT.jpg