Meningitis: Get Smart

fotolia_bookworm_sAttention STUDENTS (and those who know and love a student). Our lesson today is on Meningitis.

Meningitis can be two things: deadly and prevented.
We’re aiming for the latter.
While it can affect anyone, those age 11 through college years are at the greatest risk. It’s spread by common (sometimes unavoidable) activities like:

-Living in close quarters (dormitories or summer camp)
-Smoking or exposure to smoke
-Sharing utensils or drinking glasses
-Kissing (unavoidable…?)

Meningitis can either be viral (caused by a virus) or bacterial (caused by bacteria). It causes inflammation (“-itis”) of the Meninges (the covering of the brain and spinal cord).  The most common form of Meningitis is a viral infection that usually gets better without treatment. On the other hand, bacterial Meningitis (Meningococcal Meningitis) is extremely serious and can result in brain damage, loss of limbs, hearing loss, and death within 1 day after symptoms start to show up.

This is not a time to slip into “wait and see” mode, ESPECIALLY since the symptoms for Meningitis are the same for both viral and bacterial cases. It is vital that you get to an emergency room for evaluation and treatment ASAP if you are experiencing symptoms! Early diagnoses and treatment of Meningitis are essential to prevent permanent damage.

The symptoms come on quickly and may include:

  • fever and chills
  • changes in mental status
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sensitivity to light
  • severe headache
  • a stiff neck

Hold on, the lesson isn’t over. We have good news, too! There is a vaccine that can help prevent the onset of bacterial Meningitis. If you had the vaccination 5 or more years ago and are now getting ready to head off to college, use those smarts that got you to college and go get a Meningitis vaccine booster.  Your local ProHealth office has the Meningitis vaccine at the discounted price of $125 so we can do our part in keeping you healthy and happy. Call or visit one of our five convenient locations.