Help with a health question for an India traveler
April 13, 2012 4:34 PM   Subscribe

India Travel Filter: Does my favorite girl have a mild case of Meningitis? Shes in northern India and has a mild rash, headaches, and some dizziness.

My favorite girl and fiance is in Delhi and has a mild rash, small red dots on various spots of her body about 20 total that don't itch and dont seem to be from insect bites, has been having on and off headaches and neck stiffness, as well as some dizziness. She's not really too sick but the rash and headaches have been kind of persistent. Anyone familiar with such conditions in Northern India?
posted by specialk420 to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
IANAD but rash and aches made me wonder about Dengue Fever. It is entirely possible to have mild DF, and it exists in Northern India.

Where is the rash?
posted by Trivia Newton John at 4:59 PM on April 13, 2012

Rash is all over very sparse and scattered - but none of the other dengue symptoms.
posted by specialk420 at 5:03 PM on April 13, 2012

Why hasn't she seen a doctor? Doctors are very, very cheap, common and well trained in India. She could go to the All India Institue of Medical Sciences. World class doctors. Or ask her hotel or local friends. If it were meningitis, she would need to treat this pretty seriously and very quickly . Non blanching spots are the thing with meningitis but really, Indian medical training is very good. They're highly regarded in Australia by colleagues.
posted by taff at 5:17 PM on April 13, 2012 [7 favorites]

I'm no doctor, but I'm going to say there is no such thing as "a mild case of Meningitis." Again, not a doctor, but if you even suspect a meningitis my ass would already be at the hospital. You can have viral, bacterial, or aseptic meningitis. None are fun. One will kill you pretty damn quick without treatment.

I had aseptic meningitis in college. Imagine the worst headache you can, then magnify that by a few hundred and you're getting in the ballpark.

All three are treatable. Personally, no one on here is going to even be able to accurately guess on this one. See a doctor.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:19 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe this differential diagnosis tool will help. If it were my daughter, I'd advise her to seek medical attention asap for any combination of rash, headache, and stiff neck.
posted by lakeroon at 5:20 PM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Since that tool uses a lot of medical jargon, I will add a piece that may be helpful - the concerning skin findings of meningitis are called purpura, which do not blanch when you push on them with a finger. If the red dots she has blanch when you push on them, they are not purpura. However, bacterial meningitis, as noted above, usually makes people quite sick, at least if it's been going on for a couple of days.

A number of viral infections can give you headaches, muscle aches, and a rash called a viral exanthem. Just throwing that out there. Impossible to diagnose your GF with this little detail and I would certainly nth seeing a physician if these symptoms are bothering her.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:25 PM on April 13, 2012

So I had bacterial meningitis once upon a time (I think Nixon was still President). I don't remember dizziness - I do remember high fevers, horrible headaches (i.e. what Cjorgensen said) and a desire to sleep constantly. That said, without treatment, I don't think you get to live long enough with bacterial meningitis to consider it persistent.

IMHO, unless somebody who has spent some quality time in India comes on and says, "Oh, that's Blah Blah Blah - it's no big deal" I'm another vote for it being time for a doctor.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:32 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

AIIMS will be far too complicated a hospital complex for her to navigate. Suggest going to Batra Hospital's outpatient. Where is she located in Delhi? Can find recommendations for doctor near by, since Delhi is too huge to be careening across town.
posted by infini at 11:46 PM on April 13, 2012

If there is any serious suspicion of meningitis the person in question should seek immediate medical assistance. There's more information on the symptoms here. I repeat - if there is a serious suspicion on this, do not delay, seek medical advice immediately.
posted by prentiz at 2:35 AM on April 14, 2012

Doctor/hospital list from the U.S. Embassy (pdf). I would contact at a minimum a doctor and at maximum a hospital ASAP. As a foreigner, India is no place to find yourself in a health crisis--if you'd go to doctor about something in the U.S., go to the doctor two times sooner on the subcontinent.
posted by whitewall at 7:24 AM on April 14, 2012

Thanks for all the help - curiously enough the headaches and rash have subsided. fingers crossed, they have reoccurred twice already.
posted by specialk420 at 8:44 AM on April 15, 2012

Not to sound harsh, but there is absolutely no excuse not to go to the hospital, here. Your girlfriend needs to pick up the phone, call Megacab (01141414141), and tell them she needs to go to Max Hospital in Saket, so the good doctors there can rule out all manner of scariness.

(I like Max best. It feels most "familiar" to me as an American accustomed to American hospitals. I find AIIMS and the others mentioned here far less friendly, clean, and easy to navigate...)
posted by artemisia at 3:06 PM on April 15, 2012

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