An infection of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluids that cover the brain and spinal cord is known as meningitis. The causative agents of this infection are virus, or bacteria, and very rarely fungal agents. It is observed that viral meningitis is not as severe as bacterial meningitis and can be overcome by the body's immune system without treatment. Bacterial infection is very dangerous and can result in brain damage, hearing loss, learning disability, and in extreme cases death. It is the leading cause of death in children aged 2 to 18 years in the United States.
It has been found that over 2,600 people are affected by meningitis every year in the United States. 10 to 15% of those infected die each year, even after treating them with antibiotics. Other dangerous consequences of meningitis cause 11 to 20% of the people to lose their arms or legs, develop problems of the nervous system, mental retardation, seizures, strokes, or turn deaf.
This medical condition strikes infants as young as less than one year of age to a college student. It is also observed in people with underlying medical conditions, like people whose spleens are surgically removed due to other disorders. Penicillin is used to treat it effectively. Yet, it is seen that at least one person dies out of 10 and many are affected for life due to the same. Thus, making it very important to act wisely and prevent the occurrence of disease. The best way to prevent this infection is meningitis vaccine.
How Long Do Meningitis Vaccination Effects Last?
Many people opt for this vaccination. There are two types of vaccines available, viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis. The meningitis vaccine, Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) is administered to children under 5 years of age. There are usually 3 to 4 doses given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 months of age. This vaccine is known to provide immunity against meningitis infection for at least 15 years.
There are two types of vaccines against Neisseria meningitidis, the bacteria that causes meningococcal meningitis. The first one begin meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4), the only vaccine that can be administered to people over 55 years of age. The other vaccine is known as meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4). This vaccine is recommended for children between the age group of 11 to 18 years and at 0 risk group of 2 to 55 years by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The vaccines are known to develop 90% immunity in adults who receive it and can provide protection that lasts for minimum 3 years to a maximum of up to 5 years.
There is another vaccine that is administered to children under 5 years of age, known as pneumococcal vaccine. It provides protection against Streptococcus pneumoniae, that causes this medical condition in young children. There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PPSV). PCV7 is used to provide immunity to children under the age of 5 and PPSV provides immunity to adults and those children who are at risk of infection. The vaccines provide immunity that lasts for about 3 years to 5 years according to National Network for Immunization Information (NNII).
Does the Vaccine Hurt?
This vaccine is given into the deltoid muscle just below the shoulder. The vaccine does not hurt any more than a regular shot. One does not feel too much pain and if the injection is taken in a calm and relaxed manner, the slight discomfort or pain in the upper arm won't last more than three days after the shot is taken.
Meningitis Vaccine Risks
The risks involved are very minor generally. The most common side effects are redness and swelling at the site, headache, malaise, chills, and fever. The serious risks involved are very rare. They are observed mostly three days after taking the vaccine. The meningitis vaccine risks involved in this case are very high fever, seizures, hives, skin rashes, swelling of the face, mouth, and difficulty in breathing.
It is very important to be punctual with the doses of meningitis vaccine for it to last longer especially in children. The vaccines are very useful in protecting one from the infection, however, do not completely eliminate the chances of getting an infection. Make sure to wash the hands frequently and do not share personal items like towels, hankies etc. Ask the children to do the same and also make sure that they cover their mouths when sneezing and coughing.
Disclaimer: This WellnessKeen article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.