Col­lege menin­gi­tis men­ace

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen

Q: My son is en­rolled at a small col­lege in Ver­mont, and I heard that there was an out­break of menin­gi­tis on East Coast col­lege cam­puses. He’s had a lot of his vac­ci­na­tions, but what is avail­able to pro­tect him from this? — Sharon S., Syra­cuse, New York

A: All par­ents of teens should talk to their kids’ doc about get­ting the MenB vac­cine. The pre­ferred age for vac­ci­na­tion is 16 to 18, but any­time af­ter that is fine.

If your son is up on his vac­ci­na­tions, he’s prob­a­bly pro­tected against the most com­mon strains of menin­gi­tis. If not, then he should ar­range to get those vac­ci­na­tions. You can dis­cuss the best sched­ule for that with his doc­tor.

The good news is that cases of menin­gi­tis in the U.S. are at record lows. The bad news is that be­tween 10 and 15 per­cent of the cases that do hap­pen turn out to be fa­tal, and up to 20 per­cent cause the in­fected per­son last­ing dis­abil­i­ties.

It’s worth know­ing that the MenB vac­cine does trig­ger mild side ef­fects, such as sore­ness, tired­ness, fa­tigue, headache, fever or chills, nau­sea and di­ar­rhea, in about half of folks who get it. Th­ese re­ac­tions can hang around for a few days; they gen­er­ally dis­ap­pear com­pletely within a week.

Q: I heard that smoke from wild­fires is worse for you than cig­a­rette smoke. We’re be­ing blan­keted with it, be­tween the 600 fires in Bri­tish Columbia and the hun­dreds through­out the U.S. West Coast, plus Ne­vada, Idaho and Mon­tana. What’s the best way to limit ex­po­sure and still have a life? — Ja­son P., Seat­tle

A: Cig­a­rette smoke is a lot worse for you. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t harm­ful chem­i­cals and par­tic­u­late mat­ter in the wild­fire smoke. There may be flakes of ash as well as bits of residue. Those par­ti­cles pick up things and those mi­cro­scopic par­ti­cles can pen­e­trate deep into your lungs along with the pol­lu­tants.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Well­ness Of­fi­cer and Chair of Well­ness In­sti­tute at Cleve­land Clinic. To live your health­i­est, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.share­care.com.

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