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How can I protect my child against meningitis and HIB?

Meningitis is a potentially life threatening disease, where the outer covering of the brain and spinal cord becomes inflamed. It’s caused by a virus, bacteria or sometimes a fungus, and, left untreated, it can be fatal within a matter of hours.

While the viral incarnation of the disease is fairly common, and usually not fatal, the bacterial version, and the complication known as meningococcal septicaemia, are far more rare, and are very serious, and potentially fatal.

Meningitis usually starts with a very high fever, and a red or blotchy rash on the skin. People and children with meningitis usually have a stiff neck, a sensitivity to light, headache, vomiting and drowsiness. They may also experience seizures, and babies often have swollen soft spots, diarrhoea, irritability or drowsiness, a floppy body, and an abnormal cry that’s often high pitched.

Because of the serious risks that meningitis poses to babies, children and adults, it’s important that you have your child vaccinated with the 6 in 1 vaccination. If you suspect that your child may have contracted meningitis, or any of the diseases associated with it, it’s also vital that you seek immediate medical care.

Hib is a bacterial infection that is spread through coughing and sneezing. It’s usually only dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, but since it can lead to more serious diseases, including meningitis, it’s important that you have your child vaccinated against it.

Hib infection is most common in children under four, however anyone can catch it. The vaccine (6 in 1) that protects against Hib is administered at two, four and six months of age, and although there may be mild side effects, it’s recommended that every child receive this vaccination.

More questions

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Injections are necessary - the thing is to just have them and then get on with it. If needs be, have your child’s favourite toy or something else that will distract him while he has his shot.
Antibiotics do not kill viruses, such as the common cold, and by over using antibiotics, particularly when they aren’t necessary, you are weakening your child's future defences! 
In general, chewable medicines are only designed for children two years and older, who are adept at eating solid foods.
Giving any child aspirin could contribute to them getting a serious illness known as Reye’s Syndrome.
As a parent you should understand the risks associated with various different types of medication
Both ibuprofen and paracetamol are effective pain and fever treatment options for babies and children.
Choosing between a vaporiser and a humidifier is a personal choice but both help to make children feel better



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