The day I became mother, I remember being filled with love for this tiny little person who had lived inside of me for 42 (yup she was late!) weeks. I had to have a c-section, so as I was in the recovery room, a nurse came to tell me that they were placing my beautiful little girl in the NICU because she “wasn’t breathing as well as we would like her to be.” That was the first time I realized that babies, even newborns, can get sick. I was scared. In that case, we were very lucky, her stay was mainly a precaution and she was better within 2 days and we went home together.
After her birth and knowing how much fear I could be filled with, I researched EVERYTHING and armed myself with a ton of knowledge to keep my baby healthy. That is why I am writing about Infant Meningitis Awareness, because I believe in arming yourself with the knowledge to protect your child.
So What is Meningococcal Disease?
- Meningococcal disease is a leading cause of meningitis (an infection of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord) and sepsis (a life-threatening bloodstream infection)
- There are five groups of meningococcal bacteria that are responsible for causing most of the disease. They are C, A, Y, B and W135. Four of these groups are vaccine preventable (C, A, Y and W135)
- Each year approximately 1 in 7 people who contract meningococcal disease will die from it
- The disease starts with non-specific flu-like symptoms, progresses rapidly and aggressively and can kill in as few as four hours, making it a very difficult disease to diagnose and treat
- Of those who survive 1 in 6 will suffer limb amputations, paralysis, seizures, strokes, hearing loss, blindness, organ damage, severe scarring, brain damage and more
The kicker of all this? It IS PREVENTABLE!
There is a vaccine, and yes I know vaccines are controversial, and I believe in a parent’s right to choose which and when, given they receive the proper information but this one I am standing behind. Meningococcal Disease is among the leading causes of preventable in death in the US. More staggering is the fact that approximately 50-60% of these cases are vaccine preventable.
Meningitis Angels, a national non-profit organization founded in memory of Ryan Wayne Milley, the only child of Bob and Frankie Milley, is spreading awareness about the disease. They also support of victims and those that are affected by helping families cope. You can help by spreading the word and signing the Protect Infants Now (PIN) petition to assist with input on whether infants two years and younger should be immunized against meningitis.
The Meningitis Angels also educates the public, health professionals, child care facilities, schools and universities on not only meningitis but other vaccine preventable diseases and the preventions including vaccines, though personal stories, our educational brochures, posters and videos. Check out their PSA to learn more about this amazing non-profit:
Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central and Meningitis Angels. This campaign was made possible in part through support provided by Novartis Vaccines. A small donation to a charity of my choice was made in my name from Mom Central as a thank-you for participating. All opinions in this posting are 100% my own.