Most people with encephalitis are asymptomatic or experience only mild symptoms that mimic the flu, including fatigue, weakness, muscle or joint aches, fever, and headache, according to Mayo Clinic. More-serious cases of encephalitis cause symptoms such as seizures, muscle weakness, double vision, or agitation, hallucinations and confusion. The condition also causes loss of consciousness and problems hearing or speaking.
Symptoms of encephalitis in children or infants include nausea and vomiting, inconsolable crying, body stiffness, and irritability, reports Mayo Clinic. Both children and infants may not wake for feedings or have poor appetites. In infants, a bulging fontanel, or soft spot in the skull, often occurs.
Treatment of encephalitis generally consists of the administration of anti-inflammatory drugs for the relief of fever and headache along with plenty of fluids and bed rest, notes WebMD. For some cases of encephalitis, doctors may order intravenous antiviral drugs, such as Zovirax, Cytovene and Foscavir. Depending on the severity of the condition, breathing assistant and anticonvulsant medications are often part of the treatment regimen.
Although the condition is mild in some people, it can be life-threatening in others, advises WebMD. Any signs of the condition in children require immediate evaluation by a medical professional. In adults, fever, severe headache and altered consciousness also require urgent care.