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Zackary Z Ziegler
Oct 30, 2014

Viral Meningitis Prevention Tips

Oct 30, 2014 by Zackary Z Ziegler

The symptoms of viral meningitis present very similarly to the common flu and may include severe headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, neck stiffness, and dehydration. Drinking extra fluids when sick can help to avoid dehydration.  As this is a virus, there are no antibiotics or specific treatment for this infection. However, headaches can be treated with pain medication, fever with fever reducers and nausea with anti-nausea medication.  In some cases, those affected may require hospitalization for intravenous (IV) fluids to correct dehydration.

If you have the symptoms noted above, it is advisable to seek care and advice from a health care provider, including the University of Maryland Health Center.

  1. The best ways to prevent spreading any infection are to carefully clean your hands on a regular basis, avoid those who are sick and rest at home if you are feeling unwell.  Alcohol based hand sanitizer is an alternative to soap and water for hand cleaning.
     
  2. Given that this infection is shed in the stool, it is particularly important to carefully wash your hands after using the restroom.  If friends or roommates who have used your bathroom are ill, clean and disinfect with any standard household disinfectant cleaner and carefully wash your hands after cleaning.  We will be working with campus organizations to clean spaces that have been particularly trafficked by those who are ill.  Please also pay attention to cleaning “high touch” surfaces in your living environment like doorknobs and keyboards.
     
  3. For those who have been ill, we recommend vigilance in cleaning shared restrooms and vigilant hand washing after using the bathroom.
     
  4. There is no indication to receive the standard meningitis vaccine given this current situation.  Though required at UMD, this vaccine will not protect against the current infection.
     
  5. Given that this type of infection can be spread by close contact, we particularly recommend avoiding things like kissing and sharing glasses at parties and sharing utensils.  Casual contact, like going to the theater or being in class, do not pose a particular risk provided that you are practicing the measures noted above. 
     
  6. There is no particular need to leave campus.  Carefully following the advice noted above will offer adequate protection from infection.  

Please find additional information about viral meningitis from http://www.health.umd.edu/meningitis and the Maryland Department of Public Health.