(Please note: I teamed up with GSK for their Take 5 meningitis campaign for this post, but my thoughts are my own.)
One thing that 2020 has taught us is that we can’t take anything for granted. My wife and I have had many talks this years on how we can keep our kids safe. As my kids get older they will start to face new obstacles in their lives. When they head off to college I want to make sure that they are ready to take on anything. One way to do that is to make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations. One of the vaccinations can help prevent your child getting meningitis.
Take 5 For Meningitis
You might have heard the word meningitis before, but not know what this disease is all about. That is where the Take 5 for Meningitis campaign comes into play. Did you know that adolescents and young adults have higher rates of meningitis due to close contact with each other, sharing drinks or eating utensils, coughing or kissing? While meningococcal disease is uncommon, studies have shown that between 2014-2017, the relative risk of contracting Meningitis B was 3.5 to 5 times higher in college students aged 18-24 years compared with peers not attending college.
That may not sound like a lot, but one child with Meningitis B is way too many. A few years back there was no vaccine for Meningitis B. Today, there are two different types of vaccines and both are needed to help protect against the five vaccine-preventable groups of meningitis. This is where your doctor comes into play. You should ask your doctor about these vaccinations and what you can do to help prevent your child getting Meningitis B.
Longterm Effects Of Meningitis
There are longterm issues with meningitis. I learned this when I was on meningitisb.com. From the site I found out that one out of ten people infected with meningitis die. One in five of meningitis survivors suffer long-term consequences, such as loss of limbs, brain damage, deafness and nervous system problems. Early symptoms of meningitis may be similar to those of the flu, but can progress quickly and can be fatal, sometimes within 24 hours. Just think back to when your child was learning to walk. You toddler proofed the house to make sure your kid didn’t fall on something that could hurt them. You did everything you could to not put your child in any harm. The Take 5 for Meningitis campaign does the same thing for your child.
You want to keep them safe and talking with your doctor is the step in the right direction. Only one in three parents know that two different types of vaccines are needed to help protect against the most common types of this disease in the forms of A, C, W, Y and B. 28% of parents whose children have not received the meningitis vaccination say they did not have enough information say their child doctor never discussed it. That is why you should take the first steps.
Going The Distance
So you have read all the different stats and research that I shared with you. Now what is your next step? As I stated many times about talking to your doctor you should also talk with your child. Communication is key in any relationship. As your child goes off to college or live on their own you want to give them every advantage you can. So ask if they heard about Meningitis B. See if anyone they know has it.
Carriers can still potentially spread the disease to others, since it is carried on or in one’s body. Meningitis B is unpredictable and we don’t really know why some carriers become sick while others do not. We all have seen what can happen with something that is invisible to the eye that can hurt us. We have learned that lesson this year. Now is the time to take very action you can to protect your child. Talk to your child. Talk to your doctor. Get that peace of mind through action. To help start that journey go to meningitisb.com.
Also for more information check out a podcast with a fellow Dad 2.0 Summit presenter, Christine Kho. On her podcast, Edit Your Life Show, she talks about why meningitis prevention matters with Dr. Len Friedland, a dad, pediatrician, and research scientist who serves as Vice President, Director Scientific Affairs and Public Health, for GSK Vaccines. Click HERE to listen to the interview.