The newest vaccine on the block – do your kids need another shot?

Medical careIt only takes hours for the meningococcus bacteria to kill a child who was previously perfectly healthy. It is the reason the word “meningitis” strikes fear in the heart of parents everywhere. Most meningitis is caused by viruses and though it can be severe, it is not usually fatal. When we speak specifically bout infections caused by the bacteria, Neisseria Meningitidis, it is a whole different story. It is treatable, but sadly it affects the body so fast and intensely, that by the time anyone even realizes the child has more then a flu bug, it may be too late. The toxin produced by these bacteria poisons blood vessels making them ineffective and causing cells throughout the body to die. The bacteria are passed through close contact usually from people who carry it in their nose.  These carriers have no symptoms and may or may not ever become sick from it. Living with someone who carries menningococcus greatly increases risk for severe infection which is why outbreaks have been seen in military barracks and college dorms, etc.

There are several types of this bacterium. Effective vaccines have been available for 4 of the common types for several years. Menomune, Menactra, Menveo all provide protection against types A, C, Y and W135. MenHibrix prevents infection with types C and Y. Unfortunately; there has not been an effective vaccine for one of the most prevalent types of this bacterium known as serogroup B.

Just last Month (Oct 2014) the FDA finally approved a vaccine that provides protection against serogroup B meningococcal infection. Known by the brand name Trumenba this vaccine is available for children aged 10-25 years. Similar to the hepatitis B vaccine and other vaccines, a series of 3 shots is recommended for full protection.  Side effects are also similar to most other vaccines (pain from the injection, fatigue, headache, muscle pain and chills).

Vaccines are the only way to protect your child from this infection.

  • MenHibrix (types C and Y only) is available for ages 6 weeks to 18 months. It also protects against another dangerous bacteria known as Haemophilus Influenza type B.
  • Menveo (types A, C, Y, W135) is approved for ages 2 months and above.
  • Menactra (types A, C, Y W135) is approved for kids older than 8 months.
  • Truemnba (type B) is approved for 10-25 years of age

Vaccination is recommended for all children, but the age of that recommendation varies and is based on whether your child is at high risk for infection. Discuss your concerns and options for your child with your pediatrician.

7 tricks to avoid getting sick this Thanksgiving


Every year our ER gets busy right after Thanksgiving—‘tis the season for crying toddlers with fevers, runny noses, and diarrhea.  It’s no coincidence, there are real reasons why illness spreads during the holidays.  Here are seven tricks to keep your … [Continue reading]

Could your child have diabetes?

Ashlynn with “Jerry” the diabetic bear helping children with diabetes

A child with type 1 diabetes will receive a minimum of 1,460 injections a year. Kiaro was diagnosed with diabetes on September 12 2014. He’s not letting it stop him from playing basketball. He says, “Diabetes doesn’t stop you from being athletic. … [Continue reading]

Baby Talk – How moms’ and dads’ voices make baby smarter


There is a moment in the delivery room when the new mother first talks to her baby--usually just seconds after birth when the wet, crying infant is placed on mom’s abdomen.  I get the pleasure of watching the joy in the new mom’s eyes, and hearing … [Continue reading]

Separation Anxiety in Young Children

separation anxiety

We’ve all been in the situation where our toddler or preschooler is crying when we try to leave them.  It can be heartbreaking! Each child has individual differences, though most all children demonstrate some uneasiness about leaving mom and dad at … [Continue reading]

11 medical decisions to make for your baby before delivery (or someone else will make them for you)


You’ve educated yourself about pregnancy and made choices for your labor and delivery, but are you prepared to make medical decisions for your baby?  In the first few hours of your baby’s life you will need to make 11 medical decisions for your tiny … [Continue reading]

Social Hosting: Who’s responsible?

social hosting

"Well, teenagers are going to drink anyway so why not let them drink where it can be supervised and controlled?" I often hear adults who practice social hosting say something along these lines.  These adults believe that giving alcohol to minors … [Continue reading]

Keep the ER off your Trick-or-Treat Route!


I’ve spent many a Halloween night in the pediatric emergency room, haunted by princesses charged up on sugar and teen vampires who tried more than candy. These are my real life ghost stories, tales of mishap and mystery - mystery solved with medical … [Continue reading]

Make Your Child’s Medical History Accessible to Healthcare Providers

Working in the emergency room, I frequently see children brought in by caregivers other than their parents (grandparents, aunts, babysitters, coaches, teachers, and neighbors - to name a few).  Parents are often “on the way” or available by phone, … [Continue reading]

The croup has hit

baby girl cough

I suspect the diagnosis as they walk in the door. I can hear them across the ER. “Croupers,” as we call them, have a very distinctive hoarse cough and a noisy breathing sound called stridor.  It’s very scary for both the child and the parent, which … [Continue reading]

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