What is the most valuable thing you have in your life? If you are a father or mother, the answer will probably come immediately: your children. That is why, like me, it may shock you and it will be impossible for you to understand why there are people who can lead to risk the health of their little ones by refusing to administer, for example, the meningitis vaccine. For all parents, vaccine and pro vaccine, this is written story of a survivor of meningococcal sepsis, a serious and fatal disease.
"Vaccines are safe, vaccines save lives, and it is because vaccination is the most effective strategy to prevent the most frequent meningococci that exist, for example, in Spain: B, C, W and Y". Lucía Galán says it, better known in networks as Lucía my pediatrician.
She experienced it first hand when she was only five years old. Lucia knows what meningococcal sepsis is, unfortunately, she experienced it on her own flesh. This is the story of a meningitis survivor.
'When I was 5 years old, I came home from school with a fever and my mother immediately took me to the pediatrician. He did not see it clearly, but he did not see me well. She was not the usual Lucia who had them used to and who was jumping and smiling everywhere! He sent us home, but he told my mother that he will take me the next day to his consultation because he was not calm. '
'The next morning, I woke up with a very high fever and with spots all over my body. My mother, scared, called the pediatrician on the phone and he said: 'Put your hand under Lucía's head and try to flex her neck.' When he heard the scream I gave on the other end of the phone, because I was unable to turn my neck due to the stiff neck, the professional immediately told my mother to take me running to the hospital no matter how we were because it was serious.
'I was admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of meningococcal sepsis with meningitis. I remember that I was there for ten days and nights with doctors who stayed at the door and with others, luckily, who came to my bed and caressed me. I think it was the most traumatic event of my life and it was decisive when it came to being a pediatrician, because when I left the hospital I told my parents: 'When I grow up I want to be a children's doctor so that no little one will go through this again again'.
'In my time there was no vaccine available for this meningococcus that I had, but now there is and, therefore, we have to make people aware that vaccines are safe and that they are the most effective strategy to protect our children. Vaccines carry much more exhaustive safety and quality controls than any other drug that we have in our medicine cabinet. '
'I vaccinate my children because the benefits far outweigh the risks of vaccination and because I would not forgive myself for losing them, "he says and adds:" And I vaccinate my patients because I could not bear a father telling me that no one had informed him that a vaccine available. '
The initial symptoms and signs of meningitis They are usually nonspecific and flu-like, which makes diagnosis difficult. During the first eight hours, the child may have irritability, loss of appetite, fever, nausea, sore throat, general malaise, pain in the lower extremities, and drowsiness and muscle hypotonia (this in children under one year of age).
In a next phase, within 9-15 hours, the classic symptoms of meningitis develop, although they can be unpredictable and do not always show their face: stiff neck, petechiae, photophobia, cold hands and feet, purple rash and protrusion of fontanelles (infants less than one year old).
Meningitis can be life threatening within 24 hours, leading to confusion, delusions, unconsciousness, seizures and, as we have said, the fatal outcome.
Every hour of delay in diagnosis increases the risk of death of the child. So, if you have any suspicions, go straight to the hospital! And, first, vaccinate against meningitis so as not to experience what Lucía went through and, above all, to avoid deaths and consequences.
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