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Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Flu, Meningitis, Epi-Pins, Heavy Backpacks, Ebola


What is meningococcal disease?  Meningococcal disease is any illness caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis.  It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2-18 years of age in U.S.  Meningococcal disease can be very serious, even life-threatening in 48 hours or less.  The two most severe and common illnesses caused by meningococcal bacteria include; o Meningitis - an infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord o Septicemia - a bloodstream infection What are the symptoms?  Symptoms of meningococcal disease are similar to influenza (flu) and may include: o Sudden onset of a high fever o Increased sensitivity to light o Headache o Rash o Stiff neck o Confusion o Nausea o Vomiting o Severe aches and pain in the muscles, joints, chest or belly How does meningococcal disease spread?  Meningococcal disease is spread person to person by sharing respiratory secretions, through kissing or coughing, close or lengthy contact, and among people who share a room or live in the same household.  Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but teens and college freshmen who live in residence halls are at increased risk.  Some people can “carry” meningococcal bacteria in their nose and throat without getting meningococcal disease, but can still infect other people.  Most cases of meningococcal disease are spread by people who “carry” the bacteria with no symptoms, appear to be random, and not linked to other cases.  Meningococcal outbreaks can occur in communities, schools, colleges, prisons, and in other high risk populations. Where can I find more information?  Ask your doctor.  Call the Alabama Department of Public Health, Immunization Division, at 1-800-469-4599.  Go to and type meningococcal disease in SEARCH box.  Who should get meningococcal vaccine?  Adolescents 11 through 18 years of age are routinely recommended for two doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4).  Preteens should get the first dose of MCV4 at their 11–12 years of age check-up and a booster dose of MCV4 is recommended at 16 years of age.  Teenagers who missed a dose and are heading off to college as a freshman living in a residence hall. Ask your doctor about getting the vaccine now.  Teenagers with HIV should get three doses of MCV4.  People 55 years of age and older should get Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4).  Both vaccines prevent 4 types of bacterial meningococcal disease. Who should be vaccinated because they are at increased risk?  College freshmen living in dormitories.  Laboratory personnel exposed to meningococcal bacteria.  U.S. military recruits.  Anyone traveling or living where meningococcal disease is common, like Africa.  Anyone with a damaged spleen or who had the spleen removed.  Anyone with an immune system disorder.  Anyone exposed during a meningococcal meningitis outbreak. What are the vaccine side effects and risks?  MCV4 is safe, but side effects can occur.  Most side effects are mild or moderate and do not affect daily activities.  The most common side effects in preteens and teens occur where the injection is given and may include pain, tenderness, swelling, and hardness of the skin.  Other common side effects may include nausea, feeling a little run down, and headache.  Some preteens and teens may also faint after getting a vaccine.  Reactions usually last a short time and get better within a few days.



What is influenza disease?  Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus.  The virus infects the nose, throat, and lungs.  It can cause mild to severe illness, hospitalization, and even death. What are the symptoms?  Anyone can get flu and it strikes suddenly and can last several days.  Symptoms of flu disease may include: o Fever or feeling feverish/chills o Cough o Sore throat o Runny or stuffy nose o Muscle or body aches o Headaches o Fatigue (very tired) o Vomiting and diarrhea How does influenza disease spread?  Flu is spread by: o An infected person’s droplets from cough, sneeze or talk enter the mouth, eye or nose. o Touching a surface or object with flu virus on it and then touching mouth, eyes or nose.  An infected person can infect others 1 day before symptoms start and up to 5 to 7 days after symptoms start.  Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time. How do I prevent the flu?  Get a yearly flu vaccine.  Wash your hands properly and often.  Cover your cough and sneeze with arm.  Clean and sterilize surfaces.  Stay home if you are sick.  Who should get the influenza (flu) vaccine?  The flu vaccine is recommended every year for everyone age 6 months or older. Who should be vaccinated against influenza because they are at increased risk?  Children 6 months of age through 5 years Adults 65 years of age or older  Pregnant women  Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities  People who have medical conditions including the following: o Asthma o Chronic lung disease o Heart disease o Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease) o Kidney disorders o Liver disorders o Weakened immune systems due to disease or medication (such as HIV/AIDS or cancer) o People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving longterm aspirin therapy o People with extreme obesity What are the common vaccine side effects and risks?  Flu vaccines are safe, but some side effects can occur.  Minor problems following the flu vaccine include soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot, hoarseness, sore, red or itchy eyes, cough, fever, aches, headache, itching, and fatigue.  More serious problems may include Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in fewer than 1 or 2 cases per one million people vaccinated, children receiving multiple vaccines slightly increase in fever with seizure.  People who should not get the flu vaccine include anyone with severe, life threatening allergies, had GBS before, or not feeling well the day of vaccination.



Please visit the website to learn more about the health effects of heavy back packs.



As reports begin to abound around the world and the US, Geneva High School and it's nurse would like for you to be informed.  We have been hearing a lot in the news about viruses, mostly in Africa, and can begin to get misinformation which causes more problems than the viruses.  Please visit for more information and precautions as we head into the winter season.  You may also click on "News & Events" and then on "Forms" for more information.



Four batches of life-saving anti-allergy EpiPens have been recalled because they may fail to activate or require increased force — with potentially deadly consequences.

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