Was it viral meningitis?

My husband and I believe we are suffering the aftermaths of viral meningitis, but we're not sure. A malady struck us after an international flight from the US to Germany in August 2014. Woke up dazed, confused, with pressure in the back of my head. Husband had pressure, discomfort on sides of head and felt nausea. We endure two week vacation. Flight back was tolerable. That night we had the WORST, WEIRDEST headaches ever!! Aspirin didn't help. Got better for two days, then it hit the back of my head again, and agony for three more months. I'm a good deal better now, but still get pressure in my head often and sometimes confusion. Husband suffering similar, long lasting off and on symptoms. Doctors of no use! Anyone else experienced this???

14 Replies

  • Hi cbandchuck.

    Unfortunately we are not medics on here and are therefore not able to help you know what it is that you have experienced. The symptoms could have a variety of causes and it sounds as though you have consulted Drs and they are not advising you it is anything serious. If it was viral meningitis it does not always require treatment and in many it resolves without any long term effects. In a few it has long term after effects but those people have usually been more seriously ill and required hospitalisation. It is surprising to hear that both of you think that you contracted meningitis at the exactly the same time as I didn't think it was some was something that you as such 'catch' but it is the viruses that cause other infections that our bodies then, often at the time of stress or our immune systems being low, allow the infection to cross the blood brain barrier. But I could be wrong because we are sufferer of meningitis or those caring for those who have had meningitis and not medical experts. We only have our own experiences to share. Sorry I am not able to offer any clarity to what you have experienced as only a Dr who can explore your symptoms, examine you, carry out ant necessary tests etc can do that.

    Hope you both feel better soon otherwise my best suggestion would be to keep going back to your Dr.

    Best wishes

  • Thanks so much. Doctors wanted to do CT scans, but that did not make sense to me, since we both were affected at the same time. I did not want x-rays to my brain. Doctor said it was nothing serious, but it has certainly been mentally debilitating. Searching the web, my husband and I felt that viral meningitis was the only likely explanation. I do feel blessed that we are doing better. Have read that it takes six months to a year for symptoms to subside, so I will wait it out. Thanks for your time. It is impossible to talk to anyone about this, because you really have to experience it to have a clue of its effects! Take care!

  • I am puzzled why the Dr was suggesting a CT scan as meningitis is usually diagnosed by a lumber puncture so it seems that he wasn't checking that out but was thinking something else that could be causing your symptoms. A CT scan is not an X-ray and I think does not have the same risks connected to it although even an X-ray is not a problem unless you had to have lots done. Pleased to hear that you are feeling better and the symptoms can resolve more quickly which hopefully they will for you both as neither of you ended up seriously ill in hospital.

  • I was diagnosed in July of 2013 with VM, had three lumbar punctures, felt awful for about 8 months, went back to work way to early, and currently in PT to help with the muscle and joint stiffness here in Arizona. Doctors do not know how to treat patients with after effects from this virus like so many folks have mentioned on this great website. I still have headaches but the come and go, along with neck pain. There is a member on this site by the name of Jonas I believe who has great insight because he has been dealing with it longer. You will get better but like so many folks say here it takes alot of time and everybody is different. Your doctor should be able to give you something for the headaches - usually taken at night to avoid the daytime hangover. Best of luck to you both.

  • Thanks so much! This forum is such a blessing!

  • Dear Cbandchuck, I had Viral meningitus 2 1/2 years ago. Started as Shingles then within 5 days was admitted to hospital with blinding headache, aversion to light and unable to move my neck. Classic symptoms of VM. At hospital they did a Lumbar Puncture to see if it was VM or BM. Came back not BM but they could not identify what virus it was going by the culture. However, it seemed obvious enough that it was the shingles virus which had broken the blood brain barrier. So, i guess what I am saying is that you may never have a diffinitive answer to what you have but the way you deal with it is the same.

    Drink pleanty of water, do not push yourself when you feel tired, if you get overwhelmed with things (emotional or physical) try and shut your eyes and sleep.

    If your brain has dealt with VM then it needs 'imobalisation' to recover. if it was an injured leg then you would be put in plaster....as it is your brain....you have to imobalise it yourself.

    Be kind to yourself, sleep more than you think you deserve, and talk to us on the forum. You will get better, slowly but surely.


  • Thank you! Your approach sounds like an excellent plan!

  • Here is an article you may be interested to read:



  • Thank you for this information! All the best!

  • This web site is very good too. Hope this helps.



  • Thanks so much! I hope you are doing better. Whatever we have, it has so many of the symptoms of meningitis. I went through a period of being weepy and clingy, then angry and upset. I am feeling much better, still a ways from normal, though. Take care of yourself!

  • The testimonial from the Flight Attendant was very comprehensice. She discribed her initial exposure and her longterm affects. You may see similarities?

    Good luck,


  • Hi there CB and chuck... you mentioned you were travelling internationally but not where to? My viral meningitis was caused by the yellow fever vaccination.. though I guess its still unlikely that you would both be having an adverse reaction to that if you did in fact receive it to travel. I hope you are both feeling better soon. If it is VM you must be patient with yourselves and let your body heal in its own time is my non medical but personal advice.

  • Thanks very much for this information. No, we were travelling from Washington Dulles to Munich, Germany via United Airlines in August. Shortly after our return, we read of an outbreak of VM at the University of Maryland, which is fairly nearby. It had spread from another university, either Ohio or Penn State, I can't remember. I am wondering whether our food was prepared by someone infected and we receive a diluted version of the virus? We were not incapacitated to the point of hospitalization, but our symptoms otherwise read like so many have reported on this website. I am trying to be patient and to wait it out. Every day seems a little better, except for the unanticipated relapses. I hope you are doing better, and thanks again for your concern!

You may also like...