People with suspected meningitis will usually need to have tests in hospital and may need to stay in hospital for treatment.
Several tests may be carried out to confirm the diagnosis and check whether the condition is the result of a viral or bacterial infection.
These tests may include:
As bacterial meningitis can be very serious, treatment with antibiotics will usually start before the diagnosis is confirmed and will be stopped later on if tests show the condition is being caused by a virus.
Treatment in hospital isrecommended in all cases of bacterial meningitis, as the condition can cause serious problems and requires close monitoring.
Severe viral meningitis may also be treated in hospital.
People with meningitis may need to stay in hospital for a few days, and in certain cases, treatment may be needed for several weeks.
Even after going home, it may be a while before you feel completely back to normal.
Additionaltreatment and long-term support may also berequired if any complications of meningitis occur, such as hearing loss .
You'll usually be able to go home from hospital if you or your child has mild meningitisand tests show it's being caused by a viral infection.
Thistype of meningitis will normallyget better on its own without causing any serious problems. Most people feel better within7-10 days.
In the meantime, it can help to:
The risk of someone with meningitis spreading the infection to others is generally low. Butif someone is thought to be at high risk of infection, they may be given a dose of antibiotics as a precautionary measure.
Thismay include anyone who hasbeen in prolonged close contact with someone who developed meningitis, such as:
People who have only hadbrief contact with someone who developed meningitis won't usually need totake antibiotics.
Read about meningitis, an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Find out about the symptoms, vaccines and treatments.
Read about the main symptoms of meningitis, including the meningitis rash, and find out when and where to get medical advice if you have any concerns.
Read about the main causes of meningitis and how the infection is spread.
Read about how meningitis is treated, including what tests may be needed and whether treatment is hospital will be necessary.
Read about the main risks associated with meningitis, including hearing loss, loss of limbs, and problems with memory or concentration.
Read about the different vaccines that can help prevent meningitis and when they're usually given.
Read the story of Tracey Chambers, whose daughter Courtney was diagnosed with meningitis septicaemia.
Read the story of Mary Baron and her grandson Kyle, who developed bacterial meningitis during a holiday in Tenerife.