Monday, 22 February 2016

Meningitis symptoms and what to look out for. The Meningitis B vaccine. who is eligible? Paying privately for older children and the campaign to make the vaccine available to all children

         Meningitis symptoms and what to look out for and the Meningitis B vaccine 

Unfortunately for many children the Meningitis B vaccination isn't available to them. After the recent news stories about the tragic death of Faye Burdett and rugby star Matt Dawson's son also contracting meningitis, the disease is again at the forefront of every parents minds and there is now a campaign to get the vaccine available to all children.

In the UK from September 2015 babies born on or after 1 July 2015 are being offered the Meningitis B vaccine as part of the routine immunisation schedule and babies born on or after 1 May 2015 are being offered the vaccine as part of a one off catch-up campaign.  Babies under the age of 1 are at the highest risk of disease and are over 4 times more likely to contract this illness than any other age group. This is why all babies are offered the vaccine routinely on the NHS at 2, 4 and 12 months of age. 

However, if you want your child vaccinated and your child doesn't fall under this criteria then you have to pay for the vaccination if you want your child protected. Children who were born before 1st May 2015 are not eligible to be vaccinated on the NHS, but have the option of paying to be vaccinated privately. Unfortunately, due to high demand for the vaccine, there is currently a shortage in the private vaccine supply for new patients. 


A baby or young child with meningitis may:
  • have a high fever, with cold hands and feet
  • vomit and refuse to feed
  • feel agitated and not want to be picked up
  • become drowsy, floppy and unresponsive
  • grunt or breathe rapidly
  • have an unusual high-pitched or moaning cry
  • have pale, blotchy skin, and a red rash that doesn't fade when a glass is rolled over it
  • have a tense, bulging soft spot on their head (fontanelle)
  • have a stiff neck and dislike bright lights
  • have convulsions or seizures

In older children, teenagers and adults, the symptoms of meningitis can include: 
  • a fever, with cold hands and feet  
  • vomiting 
  • drowsiness and difficulty waking up 
  • confusion and irritability 
  • severe muscle pain 
  • pale, blotchy skin, and a distinctive rash (although not everyone will have this)     
  • a severe headache 
  • stiff neck 
  • sensitivity to light (photophobia) 
  • convulsion or seizures 
All symptoms listed can appear in any order, and some may not appear at all.
The glass test - If you press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin and the rash doesn't fade, it's a sign of meningitis.

A person with septicaemia may have a rash of tiny pin pricks that later develops into purple bruising.

The Meningitis Research Foundation says that Meningitis B is - the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK.

If your child is displaying any of these symptoms please do not hesitate to contact your GP or if more severe symptoms straight to the hospital. It is better to be over cautious and getting it seen to quickly, even if it turns out to be nothing serious. I just wanted to make people aware and refresh ourselves on the symptoms of meningitis. 

Details of the campaign to get the vaccine available for all children can be found online, if you want to sign the petition and find out more details. It has now become the most signed online petition in parliamentary history with over 691,000 signatures so far. 

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