Being a medical professional, I have come across various common and rare diseases which can turn out to be life-threatening. The only way to combat these diseases is prevention. Therefore, in my opinion, it is necessary to be updated with the latest knowledge about healthcare and make others aware of it.
One of the deadliest diseases which everyone, especially those who are new parents should know about is meningitis.
Now let me tell you about this disease so that you can learn to protect your child from it.
What Is Meningitis?
What happens in meningitis is that the fluid and membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord become inflamed. It’s an infection that is usually caused by bacteria or a virus.
People of any age can get meningitis, but infants and children under five years old are more prone to get affected as their immune systems are not fully developed.
Bacterial meningitis is the most severe and common form of this disease, which leads to death within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. Even if you recover from it, you can experience serious, lifelong complications.
So, it is very important to know the early warning signs of meningitis, as it gives one enough time to seek treatment.
What Are The Common Signs And Symptoms?
Meningitis can be hard to identify in the initial stages as its symptoms resemble those of the flu. As a parent, you need to be extra alert to notice your child’s ailments. The main symptoms that you need to keep a lookout for are: fever, vomiting, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, and drowsiness.
Other symptoms include:
- General poor feeling, sudden high fever
- Nausea or vomiting
- Joint pain
- Skin rash
- Drowsiness or difficulty in waking up
- Seizures, fits or convulsions
- Discomfort in bright lights
- Behavioral changes like confusion
Is Meningitis Contagious?
Yes, it is. It spreads if a person comes in contact with infected bodily fluids via sneezing and coughing or by touching contaminated objects, such as doorknobs, hard surfaces, or toys.
Can Meningitis Be Prevented?
The good news is that it can be prevented. Safe, effective vaccines are now available for many common types of meningitis.
- PCV (Pneumococcal vaccine)
- and HiB vaccine (Hemophilus Influenza Type b)
– both these vaccines are mandatory as per the mandate of the government of India. They are also a part of the National Immunization Program.
The third important vaccine that can protect one against meningococcal meningitis (MM), a form of acute bacterial meningitis (ABM) is MCV – Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine, which is to be offered in the form of 2 doses to babies from the age of 9 months onwards.
However, MCV is still an optional vaccine due to the low incidence of meningococcal meningitis compared to its other two more common forms, hence it’s not a part of the routine immunization program. Therefore, it’s possible for the parents to miss out on this vaccine.
However, if you want to give complete protection to your child, you should definitely consider getting your child vaccinated with MMR. It’s advisable that you consult your child’s pediatrician before getting this vaccine.
Quick Facts And Reasons To Protect Your Child From Meningitis
- Devastating and life-threatening disease
- Results in permanent disabilities
- Infants and children under five years old are most at risk
- Difficult to diagnose at an initial stage
Meningococcal meningitis could often be devastating and life-threatening. It can be prevented, so speak with your pediatrician today and save your children.
For more information on meningococcal meningitis and its prevention check out: http://www.comomeningitis.org/
Author: Dr. Jenifer
Disclaimer – The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. The blogger is not a mother but a medical practitioner. This is a part of a 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. 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. Shaandaar Jenie Blog or the author should be in no way held responsible in that case.