Meningococcal disease, more widely known as meningitis, inflames the meninges – which are three membranes that cover the brain stem and spinal cord. Once the meninges become infected, that is when meningitis happens. It affects mainly infants, young adults, and teenagers at risk of being infected with meningitis.
Through close contact, it spreads from person to person, such as kissing or sharing the same drink out of a cup. It is spread through saliva and can also be caught if you are close to someone who has it and coughs. It will tend to spread quickly within a community setting, dorm rooms, for example, or if you share a home with roommates.
There are five different types of meningitis; viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and non-infectious meningitis. But the most common of them are viral and bacterial. Bacterial meningitis is considered very dangerous, as it can strike and kill a patient within hours of the onset of symptoms. Those who recover from meningitis may have permanent disabilities, including hearing loss, learning disabilities, and brain damage.
Meningitis can kill you if not caught and treated within time. Around 5 to 45 percent of children who contract the infection will die from bacterial meningitis. 20 to 50 percent of adults will die. That is even with the proper treatment. It can be a very deadly disease if not caught in time. It is essential to look out for the signs and symptoms of meningitis. They can include:
- Stiff neck
- Trouble staying awake
Symptoms to look out for in children include:
- Being cranky or irritable
- They might move slower than usual
- Have poor reflexes.
If you or your child has any of the above symptoms, you must get seen by a medical professional right away.
Patients are typically given a combination of an antibiotic and sometimes a corticosteroid to be delivered intravenously. There are ways to protect yourself from meningitis, and the best line of defense is to get vaccinated if you have not already been.
It is imperative to get your children vaccinated, especially since they are often in a community setting at school. The first vaccine, MenACWY, should be given to children between 11 and 12 years old, and they should also get a booster of it between the age of 16. Children between the ages of 16 through 23 may get a MenB vaccine.
At Passport Health, we carry the A, C, W, Y, and B vaccinations. They are available at any of our clinics. Call or book online to schedule your appointment today.
Jennifer Passmore is a stay-at-home mom, writer and beader. She loves creating art with her words and through her jewelry. She is also a passionate mental health advocate. You can find more writing at her website Positivity In Pain.