As a parent, keeping your children safe, happy, and healthy is your top priority. So, let’s talk about meningococcal disease and how you can protect your child today.
What is meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease is an illness caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. It typically involves inflammation of the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) or a bloodstream infection (meningococcemia). While meningococcal disease is uncommon, it can be life-threatening and strike unexpectedly in otherwise healthy kids. Early signs of meningitis can often be confused with the flu. Symptoms include nausea/vomiting, confusion, drowsiness, and poor appetite.
What are the risk factors?
- Age: Meningococcal disease is diagnosed most commonly in infants, teens, and young adults.
- Surroundings: Environments where there are large groups, like summer camp or college campuses, increase the chance of meningococcal disease. The CDC recommends that first year college students and military recruits be vaccinated as well.
- Medical conditions: Not having a spleen or conditions that affect the immune system can affect the body’s ability to fight infection.
- Travel: Studying abroad or traveling during summer vacation to certain parts of the world can increase the risk of contracting meningitis.
How is it transmitted?
Meningococcal disease is spread through close contact, like kissing or coughing, or lengthy contact in shared spaces, such as daycares, college dorms, or camp bunks.
What can you do to keep your kid safe?
There are two meningococcal vaccines, both proven to be safe for your kiddos and effective at preventing disease. Vaccines are commonly given at ages 11 to 12, with a booster at 16. Adults 18+ can receive vaccination without a prescription. Ask your pharmacist or pediatrician which is best for your child or teen.
Now that you’re armed with a little more information, you’re ready to take the steps necessary to protect your loved ones from meningococcal disease. Your child’s health is important to us at Sweetgrass Pharmacy, so we make sure to stock meningococcal vaccines. Our staff of dedicated pharmacists are here to help protect your child, so stop by today to talk more about how to keep your child healthy!
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal vaccines: what everyone should know. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mening/public/index.html. Accessed on June 8, 2018.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal disease: about the disease.
- https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/index.html. Accessed on June 8, 2018.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meninogococcal vaccination information sheet.
- https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mening.pdf. Accessed on June 8, 2018.