Possible headache cause #8: Meningitis
Headache Causes: Page 8
Why: Meningitis is an infection of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Viral meningitis (caused by a virus) is the most common and milder form. Bacterial meningitis (caused by bacteria) is rarer but carries a higher risk of death. The infection causes inflammation that produces symptoms ranging from headache and fever to stroke.
What to notice: A severe headache is a common symptom of both forms of meningitis; because it's an infection, there's usually fever and flu-like symptoms as well, and sometimes a rash. Unlike the discomforts of flu or the common cold, a headache associated with meningitis is accompanied by a stiff neck. These symptoms can develop in a matter of hours or over a couple of days. People with weakened immune systems are at greater risk.