Meningitis Vaccine-Side Effects, Benefits


The inflammation of membranes which cover the spinal cord and the brain is called meningitis. Some people relate this to spinal meningitis. The usual cause of this sickness is bacterial or viral infection. That is why there is a meningitis vaccine that will help avoid being infected with the bacteria that cause meningitis. It is significant to know which causes the meningitis- whether it is bacteria or virus because the acuteness of the illness and its treatment differs from each other depending on the cause.

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About Meningitis

Generally, the viral meningitis is less severe and is easily cured without any specified treatment. On the other hand, bacterial meningitis can be very severe and if not properly checked, can result to brain damage, learning disabilities and loss of hearing. It is also important to identify the kind of bacteria that is affecting the brain or causing the illness because some of them can be infectious although there are some antibiotics that are able to disperse the bacterium and stop it from infecting and spreading to other people. In the year 1990s, type B Haemophilus influenzae was in the lead amongst bacteria that cause meningitis. Because of this, the Hib vaccine was developed and made available for children and is included in their immunization routine. These days the leading causes of the bacterial meningitis are Neisseria meniningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Symptoms and Signs

The common symptoms are stiff neck, headache and high fever in anyone who is over two years of age. The symptoms aforementioned develop slowly until the pain is intolerable for several hours; the least it will take is one to two days. Other symptoms that may appear include vomiting, uneasiness looking at bright lights, nausea, sleepiness and confusion. With small infants and newborns, the common symptoms of neck stiffness, headache and fever may not be easy to detect at first or they are not present at all. Instead, infants with meningitis may appear inactive or irritable, they have incessant vomiting or they feed poorly. As the illness progresses over time, patients may develop seizures.

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Meningitis Vaccine

The vaccines are created to protect the body against meningitis diseases although they cannot prevent every case that comes. There are two different types of vaccines to fight against Neisseria meningitis which are made available in the US. One is Menomune® or meningococcal polysaccharide; and the other type is meniningococcal conjugate vaccine with the brand names Menactra® and Menveo®. The coverage of the vaccine includes children aging 19 to 35 months and teens aging 13 to 17 years old.

The pre-teens and adolescents should be vaccinated because the highest rates of those who are affected with the disease occur around the age of 16 until 21 years. Although the disease is uncommon, it is best to prevent it in order to lessen the number of adolescents acquiring the disease. The recommended age for them to take MCV4 or meningococcal conjugate vaccine is 11-12 years old. The booster dose is given when they reach 16. With adolescents, the 1st dose is taken between 13 and 15 and the booster dose between 16 and 18 years of age. Adolescents no longer require the meningitis vaccine booster dose if they have taken the first dose after 16.

Meningitis Vaccine Side Effects

• Weakness or high fever, with slight pains in hands and legs
• Low fever, chills
• The spot where the vaccine was injected can become red, pain, swelling, or a lump.
• Vomiting, loss of appetite.
• Mild skin rash
• Headache, fatigue and weakness
• Joint pain
• Diarrhea

The serious side effects are quite rare; you can check with your doctor about the usage of Meningitis for your health benefit.

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