–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – CONTEXTO LATINO)–Do you have a child between the ages of 11 and 18? If so, they are at risk for a potentially deadly bacterial infection called meningococcal disease, also referred to as meningitis.
The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) urges parents of teens and preteens to talk to their child’s school nurse or health care provider about a vaccine that can help prevent meningococcal disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all preteens and teenagers 11 through 18 years of age be vaccinated against meningitis.
“During the school year, teens spend several hours a day in close contact with other students during classes and get run down from studying and after school activities, which can put them at risk for meningitis,” said Carolina Sandoval MSN, PNP, RN, member, NASN.
Preteens and teens make up 30 percent of the estimated 3,000 meningococcal disease cases in the United States each year and are more likely to die from the disease than any other age group. Many of these cases can be prevented through vaccination.
“Only one vaccination is usually needed to help keep teens protected through their middle, high school and college years, when they are at high risk for getting meningococcal disease,” says Sandoval.
Meningococcal disease moves quickly and can lead to brain damage, amputation of arms and legs, hearing loss, organ failure or even death in a matter of hours. Early symptoms of meningococcal disease may include headache, fever, stiff neck, exhaustion, vomiting and sensitivity to light. A purple rash also may appear in later stages of the disease.
“Meningococcal disease is often mistaken for the flu because the symptoms are very similar,” says Sandoval. “Even with quick treatment, many people who get meningococcal disease are disabled for life, so the best way to protect your child is through vaccination.”
NASN is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and educational success of children and youth by developing and providing leadership to advance school nursing practice. For more information on meningococcal disease, visit NASN’s Get S.M.A.R.T. About Meningitis Web site at http://www.nasn.org or the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov.