Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKIDs) announces the launch of its national educational campaign, “No More Meningitis.”
The campaign warns parents that meningitis is a rare but deadly infection that can kill within hours. If a person is lucky, it lingers, taking a leg or a kidney but leaving them with their life.
Taking the steps to prevent infection is a must for families.
Anyone can become infected, but it’s most common in babies under the age of one, and in teens and young adults between the ages of 16 and 21.
The outbreaks of meningitis at university campuses are a reminder that there are vaccines to fight multiple strains, but they’re not being fully utilized.
Meningitis can be a swift and vicious infection, but each year, only about half of teens get immunized against this disease.
“As parents, we need to make sure our babies and our teens and young adults get the protection they deserve. Our older kids are at greater risk of becoming infected with bacterial meningitis when living in close quarters with large groups of people, such as youth campers, dorm residents, or military barrack inhabitants,” said Trish Parnell, director of PKIDs.
Also at risk are individuals whose immune systems are compromised, travelers to regions where meningococcal disease is common, and people exposed to others who are currently infected and infectious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 600-1,000 Americans get meningitis every year. Of those infected, 10-15 percent will die. Even if the disease is quickly diagnosed and treated, 11-19 percent of survivors will experience life-changing consequences, such as loss of hearing or limbs, strokes, or seizures.
Because meningitis initially mimics flu symptoms, it can be hard to diagnose it in time to save a life.
The viruses and bacteria that cause meningitis can spread in many ways, including through a kiss or a cough, a sneeze or a sip on a shared straw.
The campaign stresses these simple ways to avoid infection:
- Wash your hands.
- Keep your hands off of your nose, mouth, and eyes.
- Don’t share items like food, forks, lipstick—anything that can transfer germs from another person’s mouth to your own.
- Get immunized. There are several germs that cause meningitis, and there are several vaccines offering protection. Ask your provider which vaccines are appropriate for your age and immunization history.
- Keep your immune system strong by doing these things—exercise, eat healthy, and get plenty of sleep.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes to avoid spreading infections that you may have.
“Too many parents, including me, have lost children to this disease,” stated Lynn Bozof, President of the National Meningitis Association. “I don’t know how my son contracted the disease, but my guess is that someone, who was a carrier, coughed or sneezed on him. It’s as simple as that. Common-sense precautions, and most importantly, vaccination, are a necessity.”
PKIDs’ “No More Meningitis” campaign reaches out through social media platforms and a website, http://www.pkids.org/meningitis, to educate the public on meningitis and how to prevent infection.
Through the use of videos, posters, and fresh informative materials, the public’s questions about meningitis are answered with clarity, and the need to use immunization as a strong tool to prevent infection is made clear.
“The mission of PKIDs is to educate the public about effective disease prevention practices,” said Parnell. “With the ‘No More Meningitis’ campaign, PKIDs hopes to prevent the spread of meningitis and protect our children, no matter their age.”
Please visit our site and use the images and other materials to encourage your community to immunize against meningitis.