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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Getting Vaccinated for Meningitis

It’s time to get all the details on meningitis from Belinda Stivers, RN, MSN, school nurse, Eminence Independent Schools, and a past-president of The Kentucky National Association of School Nurses.

 How does meningitis spread? It’s spread through common daily contact like sharing drinks or water bottles, kissing, and living in close quarters or being in close crowds. It puts otherwise healthy people at risk because it can be spread by doing regular, normal activities.  

What are some signs that your child may have it? There are different stages of it.
They may have a high fever, severe headache, vomiting, or rashes among other things. Its symptoms can mimic those of common viral illnesses, especially in the early stages. The disease can progress quickly, and, if left untreated, it can be fatal.  

What is the best way to seek prevention? Get vaccinated. Families can contact their primary care physician. Most people get vaccinated as a baby but fail to get the second dose (booster) during their teen years. Most adolescents aren’t at their doctor as much getting vaccines; so it’s easily forgotten but just as important as the first one.  

Why are rates for this vaccine so low, especially in Kentucky? Only 45 percent of adolescents in Kentucky are vaccinated. Most parents and people are unaware of the recommendation of public health officials for the vaccine. I’m happy to work with the Voices of Meningitis campaign to show awareness and to boost rating and protect kids. It’s part of our job as nurses to spread awareness.  To learn more about meningitis and the importance of vaccination go to

Contributed by Alexas Gregory, Editorial Intern for Today's Family magazine.

Photo Source: My Mix FM


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