How to Protect Your Teen From Meningitis
Find out how to protect your teen from bacterial meningitis, a serious infection of the brain and nervous system.
Anyone with a teenage daughter or son – especially if he or she stays in a college dorm – needs to know about bacterial meningitis, a serious infection of the brain and nervous system.
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This preventable illness can affect students living in close quarters and is spread through intimate actions, like kissing, but alarmingly, even a shared drink or sip from an infected person’s bottle of water can spread the bacteria.
Infections can also become serious very quickly and even when treated with antibiotics, they can result in permanent neurological problems, loss of hearing, amputations, seizures and even death.
This all sounds very grim, but it just reinforces the benefits of vaccination, which protects your teen from one of the most common forms of bacterial meningitis.
Specifically, teens (or anyone under age 55) who need a vaccine will receive the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4). According to the Centers for Disease Control, the vaccine prevents four types of meningococcal disease, including two of the three types most common in the United States and a type that causes epidemics in Africa.
Anyone can get meningococcal disease. But it is most common in infants less than one year of age and people 16-21 years. It’s important to vaccinate to protect teens from this preventable, serious illness.