Speak Up About Meningitis
Educate Yourself and Your Teen About Meningitis
Talk to your teen about the potentially devastating effects of meningococcal meningitis and the need for 2 vaccinations. Here are a few healthy habits that can help prevent meningitis:
- Ensure your child or teen is fully vaccinated against meningococcal disease.1
- Tell your child or teen to avoid sharing glasses, sharing eating utensils, and toothbrushes—anything that someone has put in or near their mouth.2-4
- Make sure your child or teen is getting enough sleep. Being tired or having irregular sleep patterns can weaken the immune system, which may make a teen more prone to meningitis.5
- Advise your child or teen to stay away from smoke and smoking. Studies have shown that smoking or being around people who smoke can increase one's chances of catching meningococcal meningitis.6-8
Questions for Your Health Care Provider
When you visit your teen’s doctor or nurse, you could ask these questions to get the conversation started:
"Has my child been vaccinated against meningococcal disease? When will he or she need a booster shot?"
If YES, then ask:
- "When was my child vaccinated for meningococcal disease? Is that vaccination still effective?"
- "What else can I do to help protect my child from meningococcal disease?"
If NO, then ask:
- "Why wasn’t my child vaccinated?"
- "Doesn’t the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend vaccination?"
- "Can my child get vaccinated now?"
- According to public health officials, should I be educated about meningococcal disease and should my child be offered the vaccine before attending high school, summer camp, or college?
The Right Opportunity
Your teenager probably doesn’t go to the doctor as much as younger kids do, but you could always call your doctor or discuss meningococcal disease and its prevention when your teen is at the doctor for:
- Routine well visits
- Visits for acne management
- Annual back-to-school checkups
- Pre-college checkups
- Visits for seasonal allergies
- Sick visits for minor illnesses
- Checkups before summer camp
- Sports physicals
Next: Meningitis Video Library