Being protective comes naturally to mothers. It’s in their nature. And this protective nature comes into existence in the early stages of pregnancy and becomes a constant companion for the duration of the rest of their lives.
When I got the big news that I was going to become a mother, it made me happy and worried too. While I was happy about this big role of a mother that I was going to play, I was also really worried about many things related to the baby. Questions like, “Will I be able to take care of a tiny life? Or “Will I be able to protect my child from every harm?” were always on my mind.
These worries made me a responsible and careful mother. When my daughter was born, my first duty, after ensuring that she was breastfed, was to get her vaccinated. On the 5th day, following her birth, she got that first vaccine of BCG along with few more vaccines. My baby cried, and it made me cry too. But I had to convince myself that the pain was worth having, as it was for her well-being. Months passed and her regular visits to the pediatrician continued with clockwork efficiency.
I am always on my toes when it comes to the health and well-being of my daughter. And recently she got vaccinated for MR in her preschool, which was conducted by the Government of India – Health Ministry to protect children against measles and rubella.
But before signing my consent for the vaccine, I went to check with my daughter’s pediatrician about the same. The doctor addressed all my worries about the MR vaccine drive. Additionally, she also informed me that the MR vaccine alone is not enough to protect my daughter from all the possible hazardous diseases. She informed me that there were many more fatal illnesses that were not covered by this one vaccine.
And as the doctor explained more about the vaccine-preventable diseases, she mentioned about meningococcal meningitis. At first, I thought they are just some extra and unnecessary vaccines because they are not mentioned in the National Immunization Chart. But the pediatrician explained the importance of many other vaccines, which are not mentioned in the chart, and she spoke more about the meningitis vaccine. Let me share with you what I learned.
Vaccines are extremely important for babies, kids, and teens. Missing any shot of vaccine can leave harmful and prolonged after-effects on kids. You need to follow all the guidelines regarding mandatory vaccines put out by the health ministry in India. But along with that, some extra vaccines are needed too.
I used to think that the pneumococcal vaccine can cover many vaccine-preventable diseases, but that was my misunderstanding. The pneumococcal vaccine does not give complete coverage against all vaccine-preventable infections and diseases. Infants and kids are at a higher risk of contracting meningococcal meningitis. So providing them protection against such fatal disease is possible only by giving them meningitis vaccine.
My daughter’s pediatrician explained a few things about meningococcal meningitis and that made me more aware of this disease, but it also provoked another worry about my daughter’s well-being.
What Is Meningitis?
Meningitis is one of the rare infections that affect the membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain. The cause of meningitis can be bacterial, viral or fungal. The bacterial strain of this disease can be life-threatening as it spreads rapidly between the people who are in close contact with each other.
Causes Of Meningitis
It is caused due to bacterial or viral infection around the brain area like ears, throat or sinuses. But some of the other unusual reasons can be a fungal infection, tuberculosis, autoimmune disorders or cancer medication.
Effects Of Meningitis –
Bacterial meningitis is considered to be one of the most dangerous illnesses. If not treated quickly, it can lead to death and if survived, the patient may end up facing disabilities like severe brain damage, loss of kidney function, hearing loss, and it can even lead to limb amputations, etc.
Symptoms Of Meningitis –
Some of the common symptoms of meningitis are
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach ache
- Fever along with cold feet and hands
- Difficulty in breathing
Meningococcal meningitis is life-threatening condition but still, people like me are not as aware of the disease as they should be. A nationwide immunization program against it is yet to be implemented in our country. But we as parents can take a step towards the well-being of our children. For us, our kids’ lives are much more important than anything else.
So, I have decided that I am going to protect my child with Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV)
Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine – MCV is the vaccine that can prevent meningococcal meningitis. Being a mother, I always want to give the best of this world to my daughter. Her health and well-being are my priority and a healthy baby makes both the parents happy too. I know all parents feel the same. And since vaccines are the only way to prevent deadly diseases like meningococcal meningitis, you should definitely consider them for your child. Because after all, prevention is better than cure. If your child’s age is between 9 months and 5 years, they are more prone to catch infections. And you need to make sure you protect him or her from this deadly disease.
You can get more info about meningococcal meningitis and the vaccine to prevent it here – www.voicesofmeningitis.org
Parents, you may check with your pediatrician to get more information about this life-threatening disease and its vaccine to protect your children and give them a happy life.
*Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative on meningitis supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information. This article is meant to help create awareness and spread knowledge. Any decision regarding your health and child’s health should be done after consultation with your doctor. Read my full disclosure here. While all efforts are made to keep articles updated, the speed of research in these fields mean the information often may change when more research knowledge is available. Healthwealthbridge, LittleDuniya or the authors should be in no way held responsible in that case. Written after consultation and discussion with Dr. Abhijit Misra (MD Pediatrician – Healthwealthbridge board of advisors)
Author: Supriya Mehta