The meningitis vaccine

November 12, 2012

The meningitis vaccine

Meningitis is a highly contagious and serious infection, the effects of which can be debilitating. The meningitis vaccine has been a successful method of protecting children from the condition.

Overview of meningitis

Meningitis comes in two forms, the viral infection and the bacterial infection. While the viral infection is relatively harmless, the bacterial infection can be dangerous and is highly contagious. It is caused by the infection and inflammation of the protective membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. Bacterial meningitis affects men more often than women and those most at risk are the elderly, young children, those with chronic illnesses and anyone who comes into contact with someone who is infected. As it is so highly contagious, school and college students are at high risk as they are in close contact with hundreds of people on a daily basis. The bacteria are spread via secretions from the lungs or nose so it is easily transferable through kissing, sneezing or coughing.

The meningitis vaccine

The meningitis vaccine was developed with school and college students in mind and was intended to prevent outbreaks of the infection. It has worked effectively for a number for a number of years with only one draw back. A rare side effect of the meningitis vaccine is the occurrence of a rash. One of the symptoms of the infection itself is a rash, but the one caused by the meningitis vaccine has a slightly different appearance.

The meningitis rash

The rash caused by the meningitis vaccine is though to be due to a hypersensitivity reaction. It generally occurs a week or two after the vaccine was received and should be seen to and treated by a medical professional as it can lead to further complications. An individual who has suffered from a rash as a result of a meningitis vaccine should carefully consider how high their risk of infection is before opting for the booster vaccine. Be sure that the benefits outweigh the risks of this side effect.

Symptoms and treatment of meningitis

Common symptoms of meningitis include a stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, headaches, rash, a high fever and even hallucinations. Medical intervention should be sought as soon as symptoms are displayed to limit the chance of complications. The infection can be diagnosed with blood tests, a spinal tap and a CT scan and treatment will be started immediately. The longer proper treatment is delayed the higher the risk of long term brain cell damage. The disease also effect children, whom once again should be treated immediately as their immune systems are considerably weaker.

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