How Long Do Antibiotics Take to Beat Bacter... - Meningitis Now

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How Long Do Antibiotics Take to Beat Bacterial Meningitis?

AbbyRudi profile image

My sister is in hospital now for a week and her recovery seems to have stalled. She improved after the first 3-4 days but nothing since. She cannot eat, is weak and confused. I'm very worried she will not recover.

18 Replies

I have had a look on Google for you, but you can call the meningitis hot line which is 24 hour

Freephone UK number:

0808 80 10 388*

Freephone Republic of Ireland:

1800 523 196

nurse-led helpline is available 24 hours per day, 365 days of the year

they say it can take up to 6-8 weeks to be feeling back to 100%

the sites said antibiotic can cure after 10 to 14 days, it has to take time, I had VM, it took two weeks for me for me.

You say she cannot eat that is normal, ask if she can have some build up milk shakes, to be honest I could only drink yahoo milk shake.

weak and confused this normal, as she will be very scared and not sure what's going on, and why it is happening to her, and I am sure you feel the same way.

I know you very worried she will not recover. Just be there for her, make sure that there is no direct light in her eyes, any kind of light will seem 100% worse, and also no loud sounds, everything will see100% worse, also if she does not want to be touched, its not you, the skin will feel sensitive

Symptoms of web sites

Meningitis infection may show up in a person by a sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. It will often have other symptoms, such as



Increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)

Altered mental status (confusion)

Nausea and Vomiting

Bacterial meningitis generally causes nausea and vomiting. The infection irritates the brain and increases pressure, which triggers the nausea and vomiting centres of the brain.

Drowsiness and Altered Mental Status

As bacterial meningitis develops, the brain is increasingly affected. Initial symptoms include lack of energy, indifference and irritability. Mental symptoms progress with time and commonly manifest as mental dullness or cloudiness, confusion and intense drowsiness. Coma typically develops unless the infection is treated promptly.


A common symptom of bacterial meningitis is an aversion to bright light. People with this symptom typically want to be in the dark and react to bright light by turning away or reflexively covering their eyes.

well I hope this helps a little, but use the free phone line, my love goes to both of you


What type of bacterial meningitus does she have?

I had pneumococcal meningitus as an adult. I also had a dip in my recovery at 3 to 4 days. I was treated with IV antibiotics, Ceftriaxone. The dip was associated with when they stopped treating me with steriods, (dexamethasone). The steriods also make you feel better, then when it stops you feel worse, (I couldn't move from my bed for a few days after stopping the steriods), then I picked up again.

Every recovery is unique, but this was my experience at this time. Let me know if there is anything else you'd like to know.

I strongly suggest that you and your sister contact the Meningitus Trust, they are extremely good and knowledgable.

Thanks and best wishes!

I had BM at Easter and was on IV antiiotics for 14 days as well as a coctail of other drugs and drips but to be honest I was quite poorly and have no idea what I was taking most of the time.

Everyone is differerent. I am much better now but still not right. When I came home from hospital I still spent most of the day in bed and much of that sleeping.

You could be in for a long haul. I really hope things start to improve soon.

Good luck and best wishes

Thanks for the replies. I don't know what type of bacteria is involved. The doctors don't say anything about how long it will take her to recover. All they will say is once she is well enough to leave hospital she'll need to be on antibiotics for one or two months more. I'm worried that even with antibiotics she will not recover as I thought we should see more improvement by now.

Hi AbbyRudi. It really is early days with your sisters Meningitis. I had Bacterial Meningitis in May 2011. I was in a coma for 3 weeks on intensive care and then had a further 3 weeks on high dependency wards. It is a nasty illness and the recovery can take a very long time. I am just over a year on and still am recovering. What your sister needs is you to be there with her as much as possible and to take each day as it comes with her. As the illness has been diagnosed and she hasn;t gone into a coma before she has got treatment in hospital there is every chance that she will gradually recover. Try and have patience and not worry else your sister will pick up on that and it will make her anxious too and possibly impede her recovery. If you click on my name it will take you to what I wrote about what I went through - and I have survived so that may help you to know and think that people do recover. She may have a rehabilitation journey to go through too and as I said that can take time!! Best wishes to both of you.

Hi StrawberryCream,

You have been through an awful lot and are obviously a very courageous woman. My sister had viral encephalitis 8 years ago, 3 years ago she had viral encephalitis with bacterial meningitis, and now she has bacterial encephalitis again. She was told she has a genetic problem that makes her prone, although she didn't first fall ill until she was 49 years old. It's one of the reasons I am so concerned, I think she may have had enough of going through the same thing one more time. That said, sharing your experience gives me some hope that my sister has a good chance of recovering.

Because of my sister I volunteer for a charity called Headway, have you heard of it? It helps people with acquired brain injuries. I don't live near my sister, so for me it means I can help her in a way by helping other people with the same type of issues. I love the social interaction as well and enjoy my time. The web site is if you're interested.

Gosh AbbiRudi your sister has certainly been through a lot since she was 49 yrs old. And so much worry for you too. It sounds as though you and your sister are very close sisters and you clearly care for her very much. Not living close must be so hard for you when she is ill and i'm sure you visit her as much as possible. Can you do that very often? How lovely that you volunteer with Headway. Yes I recently joined as a member and was sent some relavant leaflets. Haven't felt able to go and check out their social group yet as at the moment not feeling able to manage that social interaction and especially going into an unknown situation. I guess as the medical professionals have said she is 'prone' because of a genetic problem they can't do anything to prevent further episodes of contracting Meningitis. Not sure I understand that - does she have any other previous health problems?? I had viral meningitis years ago and then at 53 yrs I got the nasty Bacterial Meningitis but I think that was possibly because I was very stressed and dealing with lots of problems at both times so that my immune system was most probably depleted making me more vulnerable to the bugs crossing the blood brain barrier. Maybe I am talking a load of rubbish as I don't really know why some people get meningitis and others don't and I'm not sure there is a reason other than bad luck! No doubt your sister worries about getting it again with what she has been told and her numerous experiences of Meningitis and Encephalitis. Having now had Meningitis twice I also worry that I have a tendency to it and that it could occur again. Somehow we all have to try and keep positive and not to predict the future of what may or may not happen - but that is so hard isn't it??!!

Hi Strawberrycream, You're not talking rubbish. My sister was told her to avoid stress .. and eat a lot of protein. Eating protein is easy. Avoid stress? Ha. I can't visit her at all and that's a huge worry for me. We live on different sides of the Atlantic pond (I'm in the U.K.) and I'm the carer for my husband who has a chronic health problem. I think she is out of danger now, although she's still very ill.

Glad you are in touch with Headway and I'd encourage you to get involved. My personal philosophy about doing things is that you're never fully ready. I dither about things for months. I know I should do something, but I can't quite get the courage. One day, after several false starts, I take the plunge even though I'm not very confident.

hannah88 profile image
hannah88 in reply to AbbyRudi

hi, from the age of 5 i was suffering from re- occuring bouts of meningitis the doctors told my mom over the years they had done ll the tests and the only thing that was diagnosed was an immunity problem, then after my 3rd serious coma in which i was pregnant aged 19 i met a doctor who suggested a csf leak i under went a high resolution ct scan and mri on thin plates the same day which confirmed a csf leak the reason as i got older it become more frequent was because it had grew, i then found out these test are not done standard, i know this can also cause encephalities mine was found to be a birth defect that went un founded, but head injuries can also cause it, i am not a medic so dont know great detail on percentages that this could be the cause but i would say it is worth ruleing out if it hasn't been


My wife had Bacterial meningitis last year its a awful disease in my case the wife was in a coma on ICU for around 30 days and a further 10 days or so in HDU and rehab wards she had months in hospital her case was severe and she was critically ill

in your case your sister has been in hospital a week she's awake so the recovery has began

i asked the same question in ICU about antibiotics

they Said they know what the bug is and can deal with that pretty quick

the thing then is dealing with the infection and the nastiness of it and what meningitis does to you

the symptoms your sister has are common just be there for her it can take time and it effects everyone different patience will be needed it could be a long journey we have been in the recovery process 12+ months its never ending for us but as i say my wife was a severe critically ill case good look.

AbbyRudi profile image
AbbyRudi in reply to Dene

They did a spinal tap and know what the bug is ... but as you say that's only the start. She's suffered so much having had viral encephalitis and bacterial meningitis before that I pray this latest bout leaves her no worse that she was before, which I know is asking for nothing short of a miracle.

Hi AbbyRudi, I had a streptococcal meningitis in March 2011. I was comatose for 5 days. I was on IV antibiotics for 4 weeks in hospital and 8 weeks at home after discharge. I still have a sinus infection that I treat with antibiotic ointment dissolved in sinus rinses twice a day and corticosteroid nasal spray twice a day. My doc says it's getting better but it's not gone yet.I see him again in August. This gives you an idea of the length of recovery possible. Everyone is unique which is why the docs can't always give you the answers to your questions. God bless you for being there for your sis. Kind Regards, Jeffery

AbbyRudi profile image
AbbyRudi in reply to Jeffery

Hi Jeffrey, thanks for your reply. That is the frustrating part, isn't it? Docs can treat something but they can't answer what seems like very simple questions about recovery.

I wish you the best for your continuing recovery.

Mari46 profile image
Mari46 in reply to Jeffery

Hi sorry to hear what you went trough. I just have a question my mom has bacterial minigitis streptococcus but she is still comatose and it's been already weeks and dr tells us there is no more chances of her getting better. But she breaths on her own trough the trick. Any advice please

hystyk28 profile image
hystyk28 in reply to Mari46

How did she make out? My mother is in a very similar state. Thanks.

Dene, my mother has been in the ICU now for two weeks and in a coma for over 10 days, she has been diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis (Listeria Monocytegenes Menigitis). She is recieving Ampiciline and Gentamisin antibiotics and all her vitals are stable but her neurological state is not improving, she reacts with a withdrawal of her arms when the doctor pinches her fingers. I'm so scared of losing my mother the longer she stays in a coma, she is the most precious person in the world to me. Your wife's experience (may God give her the best of health) gives me hope that my mother will make it. Thank you for sharing.

in reply to Hachy

Hachy it's been 2yrs how did your mom do?

I had bm a mo ago. I had brain surgery to remove a tumor and insert a device. Well came home, my neck was stiff when i left the hospital but u thought I t was from the surgery. 3 wks later all of a sudden i started running a high fever, my neck was so stiff i couldn't move it. My bk andhead was hurting incredibly bad. I was throwing up. Went bk to hospital, it took em 3 days to figure out it was bm when spinal fluid started to run out the place they cut me for the brain surgery. I was on pic line meds for 3 wks. Im still recoverying, headaches every day i stare off into space, i have short term memory loss, i walj like im drunk. I have no balance. My neck is still stiff and i have days where my bk and neck have stabbing pains. I was told it takes 1-2 yrs to completely heal. Ill put her in my prayers, i feel her pain

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