What You Should Know About Meningitis
By Stephen R. Farris
When kids enroll for college, one of the requirements -- normally -- is that they have been vaccinated with the meningitis vaccine. Of course, they will have to produce a copy of their vaccination records during registration. However, most teens are safe, having received the vaccination prior to entering high school, but there are some college students -- usually foreign-exchange students -- that have not received the vaccinations teens normally receive in the United States.
Meningitis occurs when the meninges -- a thin membrane that protects the brain and spinal cord -- becomes inflamed. Symptoms include fever, stiff neck and headache. While it is a serious condition, most people get better through treatment of the virus.
However, another form of virus, called bacterial meningitis, affects around 2,000 people a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and claims nearly 500 lives out of that number. Bacterias such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Neisseria meningitidis to name a few, can bring on a case of meningitis.
Neisseria infections usually happen when there is an outbreak. It can strike fast and is considered deadly. That's one of the reasons colleges require incoming students to be vaccinated against meningitis, since there are so many students who will be studying, socializing and living together on campus.
Infants are administered with vaccines to protect against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae. There are two vaccines available to protect against Neisseria meningitidis. Meningococcal conjugate vaccines (Menactra and Menveo) is one of them and should be administered to children towards the end of their pre-teen years, with another given as a boost by their 16th birthday. The other is Serogroup B meningococcal vaccines (Bexero or Trumenba). Teens should be administered this vaccine if they have one of the following conditions:
- Complement deficiency
- Damaged or removed spleen
- Using the medication Soliris
- High risk due to outbreak
If you have questions or concerns about meningitis or bacterial meningitis, talk with your doctor or chiropractor to find out more. They may also have literature available for you to take home and read. You can also learn about what vaccinations your child is receiving and those they'll need in the future before reaching adulthood. Parents are the first line of defense when it comes to protecting their children's health against sickness and diseases.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in North Little Rock, Ark.