You may have heard scary stories in the news about teens who have died of meningitis. In this lesson you will learn about meningitis and how to protect yourself against it.
Meningitis is an infection of the lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by either viruses or bacteria. Viral meningitis is more common but is usually far less serious than bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is less common but can be very serious. It can cause brain damage, deafness, loss of limbs and even death. The really scary thing about bacterial meningitis is that it can be deadly within a matter of hours.
The viruses and bacteria that cause meningitis are spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or close face-to-face contact. They can also be spread through saliva (spit). This means that activities such as kissing or sharing of food, drinks, cigarettes, lipsticks, and water bottles are ways they can be spread. So, to be safe, it’s best not to share these items.
The good news is that you will get a vaccine in school that can protect you against bacterial meningitis. It’s called the meningococcal vaccine. “Meningococcal” is the name of a bacteria that causes meningitis. The meningococcal vaccine also protects you against other illness meningococcal bacteria can cause, like septicemia (an infection of the blood).
Watch the video from Toronto Public Health to learn more about meningitis ad the vaccine. After watching the video, test your knowledge with the quiz and earn vaccines.