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Signs and Symptoms of Encephalitis


Encephalitis is a rare, but very serious infection that causes swelling in the brain. Many types of viruses can cause encephalitis, including herpes simplex, West Nile, mumps, and rubella. Serious cases can result in brain bleeds, brain damage, and paralysis. Like many serious infections, young children and the elderly are at a higher risk of severe illness and complications. The severity of encephalitis depends on what caused it; certain viral infections rarely cause the disease, but when they do it can result in the most damage. The good news is, many viruses that can cause encephalitis now have a vaccine, greatly reducing the risk of developing this potentially deadly condition. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of encephalitis can help you prevent a serious infection before it’s too late…

1. Fever

Fever is unfortunately and frequently a sign of many illnesses, everything from the common cold and flu to allergies, inflammation, and serious medical conditions like cancer. However, fever can also be a symptom of encephalitis, though it’s not always obvious that it’s caused by such a potentially serious infection. Because fever is your body’s reaction to all kinds of infections and illness, without other accompanying signs and symptoms it’s often left untreated until it gets worse or other symptoms begin to present themselves.

With encephalitis, people can develop a fever early on as a reaction to whatever virus your body has contracted. Low grade fevers aren’t typically worrisome, but it’s important to monitor your fever if you have one. Depending on the virus that could cause encephalitis, those infected could begin to experience early symptoms, such as a fever, anywhere between 2 and 15 days after incubation. This doesn’t mean that the virus will end up causing encephalitis, but it is good to know the potential exposure to viruses in case your illness progresses.

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