Simple Ways to Prevent Meningitis

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Each year, thousands of people contract meningitis, especially young people. Meninges are the protective layer around the brain and the spinal cord. Meningitis occurs when bacteria, viruses, or fungi attack the meninges and cause inflammation of the nervous tissue. Some types of meningitis are contagious. You can get it from kissing, drinking, or eating after someone, and from living in close quarters with an infected person.

Meningitis can lead to hearing loss, brain damage, and even death. The most common symptoms are headache, stiff neck, and fever. Although meningitis sounds scary, you can protect yourself, and your loved ones with a few simple precautions. Make sure you've been vaccinated against meningitis. This vaccine is usually given to 12-year-olds with a booster at 16.

Other steps include common sense practices, like washing your hands after using the bathroom, or being in a crowd of people. Avoid sharing drinks or other personal items, like lipstick, silverware, or toothbrushes, staying away from people who are maybe infected. Boost your immune system with a healthy diet full of fruits and veggies, plenty of sleep, and regular exercise. And if you think you may have been exposed to meningitis, see a medical professional as soon as possible.