Daily LIfe Your Health

MENINGOCOCCAL

RM_17

MENINGOCOCCAL

Meningococcal disease is an uncommon but serious and life-threatening condition. Think of it as a cyclone that starts out with symptoms like a cold, and suddenly worsens. It can get worse quickly, and it may lead to death or lifelong complications. Acting quickly and seeking medical help is essential. The bacteria that is responsible can either invade the lining of the brain or spinal cord, causing “meningitis”, or get into the bloodstream, causing “septicaemia” or “blood poisoning”. Anyone can get

meningococcal disease, but some people are more at risk.

 Meningococcal disease is caused by a specific germ (also referred to as “bacteria”) called Neisseria meningitidis causes meningococcal disease. It can live in the nose and throat of some people. It is only when this germ invades or spreads, to normally sterile parts of the body that people can get sick. Some people who carry the germ in their nose/throat don’t get sick at all and doctors refer to them as “carriers”.

There are different types of Neisseria meningitidis. These are referred to as different “strains”, of which 6 are the main culprits that cause disease around the world – A, B, C, W, X, and Y. In Australia, the B, W and Y strains are most common, while in New Zealand, B, C, W and Y are most common. Though it is rare, about 1 in 10 people affected can die from it, and some will have lifelong complications such as learning difficulties, deafness or ringing in the ears, or loss of limbs.

Meningococcal disease is hard to recognise because some early symptoms are often mistaken for a cold.

Early symptoms may include:

*Fever

*Headache

*Irritability

*Vomiting

*Neck stiffness

*Eye pain or discomfort due to light

*Pale skin

*Cold hands and feet

*Aching muscles

*In babies, a bulging fontanelle (the soft spot in the skull)

Symptoms that can occur later include:

*A rash that looks like small red or purple spots, some areas might be bigger. The rash does not fade when pressed

  Get urgent medical attention from the doctor or go to hospital If your child or someone you know shows any of the signs above. Especially if they get sick very quickly.

Not everyone gets a stiff neck or a rash. In fact, a rash is one of the last symptoms to appear. Don’t wait for a rash before seeking urgent medical advice.

Remember how the germ lives in the nose and throat of some people? This means it can spread through secretions  by:

*coughing or sneezing on someone 

*intimate kissing

*close, prolonged household contact.

   Anyone can get it, but some groups of people are more at risk.

These include:

*babies and children under the age of 5

*teenagers

*young adults

*Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

*people who have an extremely weak immune system due to medical conditions or

*If you, your child or loved one lives in crowded conditions such as student accommodation at boarding schools, colleges or on an army or navy base, they could be at higher risk too.

*Smoking or secondhand smoking can also increase your risk.

How can I protect myself and my family?

While we don’t recommend isolating yourself from everyone, we do recommend that you speak to your GP about what you can do to protect yourself or your family against the different strains of the bacteria.

    Other helpful things to reduce the chance of spreading bacterial infections is to maintain good hygiene habits such as:

*regularly washing hands thoroughly

*encouraging children to cough or sneeze into their elbow

*teaching children to throw used tissues in the bin straight away, and to wash their hands afterwards.

Signed: DIVINE TONDO

Leave your thought here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let's Connect

For Latest Updates Let’s Connect on Whatsapp