Prevention and self-management
- Meningitis typically results from contagious infections. Common bacteria or viruses that can cause meningitis can spread through coughing, sneezing, kissing, or sharing eating utensils, a toothbrush, or a cigarette. Individual's are also at increased risk if they live or work with someone who has the disease.
- Hygiene: Careful hand washing is important to avoiding exposure to infectious agents. Children should be taught to wash their hands often, especially before they eat and after using the toilet, spending time in a crowded public place, or petting animals.
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine: Children in the United States routinely receive the Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) vaccine as part of the recommended schedule of vaccines, starting at about two months of age. The vaccine is also recommended for some adults, including those with sickle cell disease or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7): The pneumococcal conjugate (PCV7) vaccine is also part of the regular immunization schedule for children younger than two years in the United States. In addition, the vaccine is recommended for children between the ages of two and five who are at high risk of pneumococcal disease, including children with chronic heart or lung disease or cancer.
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV): The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is used for older children and adults who need protection from pneumococcal bacteria. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the PPV vaccine for all adults older than 65 and younger adults and children with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia.
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4): The meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to be routinely administered for the following previously unvaccinated groups: children 11-12 years old, adolescents at high school entry (about age 15), and college freshmen living in dormitories.
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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.