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Meningitis Vaccine Helps To Protect Young Adults From Disease During Outbreaks

(December 17, 2013 - Carroll Township, Pa.)

In December 2013, officials at two universities on the east and west coasts struggled to get control of dangerous meningitis outbreaks. Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord. Early symptoms include fever, headache, body aches and fatigue. Other symptoms include: stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion and sensitivity to light.

While rare, meningitis is often deadly. Nearly 10 to 15 percent of those who contract the disease die and another 10 to 15 percent are left with a permanent disability such as deafness, brain damage or the loss of a limb.

Relatively few people infected with the meningococcal bacteria become sick; however, they can become carriers. The meningococcal bacteria can live in the throat for weeks and even months before a person becomes ill.

Unlike the common cold, there is a vaccine to protect people from meningitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that young adults - particularly college-bound students - be vaccinated against meningitis.

"Approximately 1,000 to 1,200 people get meningococcal disease each year in the United States. Even being treated with an antibiotic, individuals are left with loss of their arms or legs, nervous system problems, deafness, seizures and strokes which can have permanent damaging neurological effects and even death," said Michelle Antanovich, CRNP - Family Medicine, clinical lead at Healthy Directions at Giant Eagle. "Infectious diseases tend to spread more quickly in community settings where larger groups of people gather together. College students living in dormitories are at increased risk for meningococcal meningitis. To keep from being one of these statistics, get your children immunized today."

Healthy Directions, located in the Finleyville Giant Eagle, has a supply of the meningitis vaccine. Other vaccines available include: Hepatitis A and B, Influenza, Pneumonia, Shingles, Varicella (Chicken Pox) and Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (DPT).

A certified registered nurse practitioner - family medicine is available to administer immunizations at Healthy Directions Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Finleyville Giant Eagle is located at 3701 Route 88, Finleyville, PA 15332.

For more information, contact Healthy Directions at 724-348-6699.

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