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Doctor insights on: Difference Between Flu And Meningitis

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What can you do to tell the difference between meningitis and the flu?

What can you do to tell the difference between meningitis and the flu?

Neck pain: Flu has flu like symptoms, sore throat, runny nose, watery eyes, cough...
Meningitis has neck stiffness and or pain.
If viral, it is more benign, but bacterial meningitis can be deadly. I would see a doctor. ...Read more

Dr. William Singer
856 doctors shared insights

Meningitis (Definition)

A condition in which the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord becomes inflamed. Symptoms include headaches, fever, stiff neck, and a sensitivity to light. There are two primary types of ...Read more


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What is the difference between meningitis and the flu?

What is the difference between meningitis and the flu?

Meningitis: Meningitis is an infection in the brain. It can be caused by various things like bacteria and viruses. The flu is caused by a virus and it can cause multiple types of illnesses and symptoms including sore throats, aches and pains, vomiting, diarrhea. Meningitis and the flu are very different, but it's best to get checked by your doctor if your symptoms are concerning. ...Read more

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Could it be meningitis if I have a bad headache with my flu?

Could it be meningitis if I have a bad headache with my flu?

Unlikely: Anything is possible, but this is infrequent. If, however, you have stiff neck, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea and vomiting, alterations in mental status, localized neurological changes, high sustained fevers, see a doctor asap. ...Read more

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How do the symptoms of meningitis and the flu differ?

How do the symptoms of meningitis and the flu differ?

Meningitis: Meningitis can cause stiff neck, pain upon neck flexion, decreased level of consciousness, severe headache, confusion, dizziness, and other symptoms. ...Read more

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What distinguishes symptoms in meningitis from the flu?

What distinguishes symptoms in meningitis from the flu?

See below: Influenza is characterized by an upper respiratory infection with pharyngitis followed by a bronchitis with coughing, fevers, myalgias and arthralgias.
Meningitis is characterized by headache, stiff neck, fever and in more severe cases mental status changes and seizures. ...Read more

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Could it be meningitis or just some flu?

Unknown: You provide no data on which to answer the question. If you have concerns, please start over, list enough information for a reasonable review and ask a question. This is not a chat room so each submission to the public site must be complete by itself. The questions are not linked. ...Read more

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I have symps of meningitis and tested neg for flu. Symps not worsening or going away, but I teach kinder. Get further testing or teach Monday?

I have symps of meningitis and tested neg for flu. Symps not worsening or going away, but I teach kinder.  Get further testing or teach Monday?

Doc there makes cal: Obviously, if you feel you have something contagious then, you should present yourself to medical attention for diagnosis and clearance or medical justification to be off from your job. Nobody on a telemedicine network could tell you whether you were in a contagious state or not since we cannot examine you physically. ...Read more

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Hello, I had a pituitary macro adenoma removed 2 weeks ago. I'm not sure if I have flu or I am developing meningitis?

Hello, I had a pituitary macro adenoma removed 2 weeks ago. I'm not sure if I have flu or I am developing meningitis?

Go to your doc or ER: If you had brain surgery two weeks ago and you're feeling ill, get yourself checked out today. At least call your doctor who knows you and tell them the symptoms on the phone. If you can't get hold of your doc, and you're feeling really crummy, go to the emergency room. ...Read more

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I got the meningitis, tdap, and flu shot and now I feel ill?

I got the meningitis, tdap, and flu shot and now I feel ill?

What do you feel: When did you get the shots and what are your symptoms. You had tdap and meningitis shot but why did you have Flu shot. Flu shots are not being given in April
Anyway drink plenty of fluids, take Tylenol (acetaminophen) for fever or pain and if keep feeling sick consult your doctor or go to ER ...Read more

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How likely is someone to get the meningitis, hepatitis b, and flu vaccines all on the same day?

How likely is someone to get the meningitis, hepatitis b, and flu vaccines all on the same day?

Yes: Assuming that you are healthy, there should be no problem in getting multiple vaccines at one time. Vaccines contain antigens, which train your immune system to fight off those infections should you encounter them in the future. Your body is able to handle many antigens at the same time. ...Read more

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Saw immune, ID, hema., neuro. Labs all ok, told I should be ok now, 6 mos. Ago recovered meningitis- still weak w/ flu aches. What can they be missing?

Saw immune, ID, hema., neuro. Labs all ok, told I should be ok now, 6 mos. Ago recovered meningitis- still weak w/ flu aches. What can they be missing?

My opinion: Unlikely your doctor team is missing anything, as can take a long time to recover from meningitis. Although typically full recovery by 6 months, have seen lingering symptoms even out to 10-12 months, but almost invariably there is a slow steady improvement. ...Read more

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Two and a half weeks ago I was diagnosed with the flu. Few days later with a virus. Few days later possibility of meningitis no true answer. Help.?

Two and a half weeks ago I was diagnosed with the flu. Few days later with a virus. Few days later possibility of meningitis no true answer. Help.?

Trust your doctor(s): And keep the follow up, all this can happen, flu, is viral and you can have viral meningitis, common, and resolves with no problems, follow your doctors ' advice, rest and take your medications, good luck ...Read more

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How likely is it that bacterial meningitis is the cause of my 10 days flu symptoms - not getting better. Doctor says just flu! ?

How likely is it that bacterial meningitis is the cause of my 10 days flu symptoms - not getting better. Doctor says just flu! ?

Not meningitis: You cannot have bacterial meningitis and still be well enough to post this question. Keep working with your doctor if your symptoms continue. ...Read more

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Diagnosed with mono & flu. My neck is so stiff & shoulders too. It hurts so bad. Headaches & very tired. Is this from mono or could it be meningitis?

Diagnosed with mono & flu. My neck is so stiff & shoulders too. It hurts so bad. Headaches & very tired. Is this from mono or could it be meningitis?

Call your doctor : This is a question that is tough to answer online. Please call your doctor right away, and let him/her know how you're doing, and what your concerns are. If you cannot reach the doc, seek medical attention sooner than later at an er or walk-in center. I know you've been waiting a while for an answer; hope your? Was answered and you're on the mend at this point. ...Read more

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Is bacterial meningitis the result of the flu gone awry? Why does it start with flu-like symptoms?

Is bacterial meningitis the result of the flu gone awry? Why does it start with flu-like symptoms?

No cause and effect: No, flu is caused by a virus, the only way one can get bacterial meningitis is being secondarily infected or the flu has knocked out one's resistance. ...Read more

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Normal to still have bouts of flu-like body aches/fatigue where im in bed for days- five months after meningitis recovery?

Normal to still have bouts of flu-like body aches/fatigue where im in bed for days- five months after meningitis recovery?

This isn't normal: Under any circumstances. Perhaps you haven't really had a "meningitis recovery." Perhaps there's another source of infection or inflammation. Perhaps something else is going on that's causing your symptoms. In any case, this isn't normal. Please see your doctor. Dr. Anne ...Read more

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Can flu mist nasal spray cause meningitis, encephalitis or death?

Can flu mist nasal spray cause meningitis, encephalitis or death?

Unlikely: No deaths have been reported with nasal vaccine. In large series there were no severe side effects. There are few reports of meningitis and even fewer of encephalitis that were reported after introduction of the vaccine. These complications are listed in the package insert and the fda website. Considering the huge number of children and adults vaccinated, these complications are unlikely. ...Read more

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Still, have bouts of flu-like body aches/fatigue where im in bed for days- five months after meningitis recovery. Which specialist do I see?

Still, have bouts of flu-like body aches/fatigue where im in bed for days- five months after meningitis recovery. Which specialist do I see?

Internist: If you have truly recovered from the meningitis you then can see your primary doctor. You may need an additional workup for something else.
Best wishes. ...Read more

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Still feel weak w/ flu-ish body aches regularly after meningitis recovery 6 mos ago. Seen ALL specialists with blood work ups, normal. What can I do?

Still feel weak w/ flu-ish body aches regularly after meningitis recovery 6 mos ago. Seen ALL specialists with blood work ups, normal. What can I do?

Emphasize fitness: Be careful from dietary perspective and avoid inflammatory items such as gluten, corn, and MSG, aspartame, nitrites. Work with a physical therapist and devise an appropriate home exercise program. Contact a psychologist if your emotions are impaired. Realize that the recovery time varies. You will feel better soon if the above is instituted. ...Read more

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Meningitis 2 yrs ago. Still, have cycles of flu-ish aches/severe fatigue/weak. Doc says CFS/Fibro. I feel they're missing something. Unsure who to see?

Meningitis 2 yrs ago. Still, have cycles of flu-ish aches/severe fatigue/weak. Doc says CFS/Fibro. I feel they're missing something. Unsure who to see?

Infectious disease: It is time for you to consult an infectious disease specialist to find out if you are suffering from any infection. You may also have an impaired immune system which may require an allergy/immunology evaluation. I assume that you don't have thyroid, cardiac, or anemic issues. ...Read more

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I've been cold/flu like symptoms and I've heard about meningitis recently but I had a vaccine a little over 5 years. My neck is a little stiff and my bodys weak but I also are very little today and drank very little. Any possibility it's meningitis?

I've been cold/flu like symptoms and I've heard about meningitis recently but I had a vaccine a little over 5 years. My neck is a little stiff and my bodys weak but I also are very little today and drank very little. Any possibility it's meningitis?

Seriously doubt it: Your ability to submit a well worded question to this site makes that possibility quite remote. Meningitis is quite an overwhelming process. All the symptoms you mention are consistent with a cold/flu. If you are concerned go to urgent care. ...Read more

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I moved to ny for school and it's cold here still should I worry about meningitis or flu? Got vaccine for meningitis but not flu. Wash hands all day.

I moved to ny for school and it's cold here still should I worry about meningitis or flu? Got vaccine for meningitis but not flu. Wash hands all day.

Infection: Your chances of acquiring infection are no different because of the weather. Hand washing is good, but can be overdone. Sounds as if you may be having a mild anxiety disorder. Meningitis in the usa is now a rare condition. Relax and enjoy the new school. Hope you do well and have a 4.0 gpa. ...Read more

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Had meningitis last year from bad sinuses. Flu symptoms recently, flu swab of nose. Can sticking the swab in nose cause new infection or meningitis?

Had meningitis last year from bad sinuses. Flu symptoms recently, flu swab of nose. Can sticking the swab in nose cause new infection or meningitis?

Flu testing : When handled properly by a medical professional, the swab is taken from a sterile package, inserted to a specific depth, swirled, removed, and placed in a culture tube. When the flu test is performed this way, it should not cause infection.
Of course, if someone drops the swab on the floor first, it could pick up germs which might then cause infection. I hope you feel better soon. ...Read more

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3-4 days. Bad headache, low grade temp, back/neck ache, fatigue. No respiratory or GI probs. Flu vs meningitis?

3-4 days. Bad headache, low grade temp, back/neck ache, fatigue. No respiratory or GI
 probs. Flu vs meningitis?

Maybe flu: Flu can certainly cause headaches and body aches. Meningitis patients typically get seriously sick! If symptoms do not improve, please see your doctor or visit a local ER. ...Read more

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If blood work is normal but still have stiff neck and worst headache ever could it still be meningitis. ER doctor said neg. For flu.

If blood work is normal but still have stiff neck and worst headache ever could it still be meningitis.  ER doctor said neg. For flu.

Yes: Most meningitis that's seen is viral and can be relieved with a spinal tap. Because of the severity of your symptoms you may need another evaluation and a scan to eliminate intra-cranial bleeding. Get checked again! ...Read more

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Sick after getting flu and meningitis vaccines? Around 5pm yesterady, I got a flu shot and a meningitis shot. I didn't feel sick at all until this morning when I woke up with a huge headache and just feeling sick in general. Last night after getting the v

Yes: After getting a vaccine, specifically the flu vaccine, a person can certainly have some flu-like symptoms. If your symptoms are severe, you may want to get checked out by your doctor. If tolerable, you can treat it like you would the flu: bed rest, fluids, tylenol, (acetaminophen) etc. ...Read more

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With bacterial meningitis is a high fever above 103 always present. Being flu season could sore/stiff neck+headache but no real fever just be the flu?

With bacterial meningitis is a high fever above 103 always present. Being flu season could sore/stiff neck+headache but no real fever just be the flu?

Possibly: It is possible that your symptoms are all related to the flu. With the flu, you can have headaches and body aches. But if your headache is severe and you have a stuff neck it would be good to get checked out. Meningitis is a serious infection, and it's not the kind of thing that you'd want to 'wait it out' with. ...Read more

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How can I tell if it's a flu or meningitis severe sore throat sleepless nights fever don't know how high stiff neck extremely tired?

How can I tell if it's a flu or meningitis severe sore throat sleepless nights fever don't know how high stiff neck extremely tired?

See a doctor : You should go see your doctor. Meningitis is a critical diagnosis and can not be advise what to do in a webpage. Please go and see a doctor. ...Read more