The CDC recommends that adolescents and teens keep up on recommended vaccines. Two vaccines that you may hear a lot about on campus are for Influenza and Meningitis. Below is some information on these two diseases.
Please visit the CDC webpage for college students and young adults for information on many more diseases and vaccinations.
Flu refers to illnesses caused by a number of different influenza viruses. Flu can cause a range of symptoms and effects, from mild to lethal.
Most healthy people recover from the flu without problems, but certain people are at high risk for serious complications.
Currently, in the U.S., epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) work with states to collect, compile and analyze reports of flu outbreaks. More on the current situation.
Annual outbreaks of the seasonal flu usually occur during the late fall through early spring. Most people have natural immunity, and a seasonal flu vaccine is available. In a typical year, approximately 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the seasonal flu. Flu-related deaths range from 3,300 to 48,600 (average 23,600).
A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza A virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population; the virus causes serious illness and spreads easily from person-to-person worldwide.
The H5N1 (Bird) flu virus is an influenza A virus subtype that is highly contagious among birds. Rare human infections with the H5N1 (Bird) flu virus have occurred. The majority of confirmed cases have occurred in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Europe and the Near East. Currently, the United States has no confirmed human H5N1 (Bird) flu infections, but H5N1 (Bird) flu remains a serious concern with the potential to cause a deadly pandemic.
The H1N1 (Swine) flu virus caused more illness in the 2009-2010 flu season in young people and pregnant women than is usual for prior flu seasons. Like seasonal flu, illness in people with H1N1 can vary from mild to severe.
Flu symptoms may include fever, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue.
Source: Flu.gov; http://www.flu.gov
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ depending on the cause. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and clears up without specific treatment. But bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities. For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people. Before the 1990s, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis. Hib vaccine is now given to all children as part of their routine immunizations. This vaccine has reduced the number of cases of Hib infection and the number of related meningitis cases. Today, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.
High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect. Infants with meningitis may appear slow or inactive, have vomiting, be irritable, or be feeding poorly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/about/index.html
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