Meningitis: A College Memory You Don’t Want

21 04 2010

Going away to school is a lifechanging experience. For many students, four years disappear into a haze of studying, working, and partying with their classmates. It’s a chaotic time where everything is shared: space, feelings, clothes, cars, and germs.

When a meningitis outbreak shows up in the news, it’s a good bet that it showed up at a school. Any shared spaces like schools, dorms, or barracks where crowds of young adults converge are favorite territories for bacteria and viruses to spread.

Meningitis, a serious but rare infection, is an inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It affects about 1,500 Americans each year.

Meningitis is commonly mistaken for the flu in its early stages, and therefore left untreated. When this happens, it can do a lot of damage within hours, sometimes causing confusion, seizures, and brain damage. Survivors are often left with amputated limbs—permanent reminders of their experience.

So what does meningitis act like and why are colleges a prime environment for it?

Most meningitis patients complain of excruciating headaches, unyielding fevers, nausea, and vomiting. Sound like just a bad case of the flu? More telling are other symptoms, which include stiffness and pain in the neck (due to the swelling around the spinal cord and brain), sensitivity to light, numbness or loss of sensation in limbs, rashes, mental confusion, and convulsions and seizures.

Most at risk are college students. Busy, exhausted, and stressed students often have lowered immune systems. A wide variety of lifestyles and health choices create a melting pot of germs, especially when bathrooms and eating areas are shared. Meningitis is spread through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluid: a shared cigarette or drink, a kiss, a cough. It’s possible to carry a germ that causes meningitis and never be sick, while unknowingly passing it on to someone else. There are lots of ways to spread it.

Many such infections could be prevented with vaccination. Some schools are now requiring proof of vaccination; others only provide information about meningitis. Before heading off to college, make sure you’re protected and know what the warning signs are. Parents, if you’re reading this, make sure your son or daughter is protected before they leave you.  It could be the most important going-away gift you give your child.

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GoodSearch: Giving the 2.0 Way

30 06 2009

Want to do something for your fav nonprofits, but the wallet’s a bit thin?  Try GoodSearch.

It’s a Yahoo! powered search engine that donates to the charity of your choice for every search you make.

Goodsearch_goodshop

If shopping online is more your thing, GoodSearch also operates GoodShop, an online store that gives back up to 30% of every purchase to the charity of your choice.

Using GoodSearch

Go to GoodSearch and enter the charity you wish to support in the second search box under WHO DO YOU GOODSEARCH FOR?  Click the verify button.

GoodSearch-Web-search

If the charity is listed on GoodSearch, you’ll see this under the search box: “Search now and money will go to your designated cause.”  That means the charity is verified.

Once it’s verified, go to the search box above the charity search box and enter your search term(s), as you would in any browser.  Use this each time you search and money will be donated to the charity you choose for that search.  If you have more than one charity that you support, you may alternate between the various charities.

Charity not verified?

If the charity you entered can’t be verified (you’ll see text below the search box indicating that you need to re-try your search), then go to the Add A New Charity page. The link to that page is at the bottom of the GoodSearch home page.

Registration of a charity is free and easy, but you’ll need to be familiar with the charity to fill out the form.  Also, make sure you have the nonprofit’s EIN, or Employer ID Number, for the form.

If everything is entered correctly, you’ll get an email stating the acceptance of your charity and instructions on how to promote your charity’s new revenue tool.

Once your charity’s accepted, you can start searching and shopping for good!

Using GoodShop

Once you’re at GoodShop, fill in the WHO DO YOU SUPPORT box, if it’s not automatically filled in with the charity of your choice, then click the verify button.

There are several ways to find stores:
•    Near the top of the page, search for a specific store, or
•    search the alphabetized dropdown list, or
•    scroll down the page to see the most popular stores, or
•    search by category from the left side of the page.

goodshop_goodsearch_Coupons_coupon-codes_deals

At the bottom of the GoodShop page, there are popular coupons and deals, or there may be deals and coupons to be found on a store’s page.

Top retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, Buy.com, and eBay are participants in this cool deal that benefits buyers, sellers and, most of all, nonprofits!

Just click on the store where you want to shop, use any coupons that are listed on the store’s GoodShop page, and click the “GoodShop This Store” icon to begin shopping for good!

Browse the Internet with GoodSearch and shop with GoodShop.  It’s the feel-good way to help out PKIDs and other nonprofits without squeezing your budget.

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