No one ever tells you when you become a parent all of the other worries that come along with having a child. Before having kids, you think about how your life is going to change in terms of how much sleep you are going to be missing out on. And things like what room will become the baby’s room, maybe needing to get a new car that fits a car seat comfortably, and heck you might even look ahead as far to start thinking about saving for their education. But it is not until you become a parent that you realize just how many other things you will worry about when it comes to your children. You want to protect them and keep them safe, so you baby proof your house the best you can, chop up their food into tiny little pieces so they won’t choke and kiss every bump and scrape that they get along the way. But when it comes to keeping them healthy there are a lot of factors to think about. The first line of defense is against illness, is building a a healthy immune system. When you are sleep deprived and have 10 loads of laundry to fold and put away, taking time to do research on vaccines is not usually top priority.
It is no secret that I support vaccination as it has improved the quality of life for everyone around the globe and lets us put many serious diseases at the back of our minds. One of those diseases that we do not think about on a daily basis is meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal disease is a rare but sudden and potentially life-threatening illness that may manifest as bacterial meningitis. On average, there are almost 200 cases per year of invasive meningococcal disease in Canada. While that may not seem like a high number, if you are a parent of one of those 200 people affected I bet it feels like 200 too many. Meningococcal disease is a scary and serious illness that progresses very quickly and can have serious outcomes. Luckily the five main bacteria that cause the majority of meningococcal disease cases in Canada all have vaccines available that can help reduce the chance of developing meningococcal disease. Those that are at the greatest risk of contracting this disease are infants followed by adolescents.
The symptoms of meningococcal disease can be hard to identify because they’re non-specific. Those with the disease can develop flu-like symptoms which make it difficult to diagnose in the early stages. Even with early diagnosis and treatment the consequences of this disease can be life-threatening and can lead to lifelong disabilities including brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities.
Now I am not telling you this to scare you or to try to give you one more thing to worry about. But I am a strong believer that knowledge is power and that sharing of important information that can impact the health and quality of life of our children is important. I encourage you to talk to your family doctor about the vaccinations that are available for meningococcal disease and find out more about how you can help protect your family.
Because we all have enough to worry about already, a sick child is not one of the things we want to add to the list.
Disclosure: Although this post has been sponsored by GSK, the opinions and language are my own. This post will not be monitored by GSK. If you need to report an adverse event for any GSK product, please call 1-800-387-7374.