Saturday, January 7, 2012

An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

When her twin daughters Lauren and Candace were born, Nicole Nayman wanted to give them the best start in life. Life revolved around caring for her girls and Nicole was eager to provide a healthy and stimulating environment. Maintaining their health was a major focus of her efforts. But the family was soon devastated when at nineteen months of age, Lauren developed symptoms of fever, vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite.
Within days, she was in Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children undergoing a spinal tap to determine the cause of her illness. When the tests came back positive for meningitis caused by a pneumococcal bacterium, the doctors couldn't tell Nicole if Lauren would live or die. Everyone who had come in contact with Lauren was immediately put on antibiotics and Nicole was told that there was a good chance that Lauren would suffer brain damage or lose her hearing.
While Lauren was able to overcome the infection, she was left with profound hearing loss in both ears. Pneumococcal disease would permanently affect not only Lauren's life, but her sister Candace's life and their parents' lives forever.
Forever Changed
Along with relearning how to walk - a skill that she had lost as a result of the meningitis, Lauren had to undergo a surgical procedure to receive a cochlear implant to help her to hear again. This procedure required her to be put under a general anesthetic, the effects of which were very difficult for Nicole and Gary to watch their child endure.
What followed was years of speech therapy to help Lauren get used to her implant and to help her understand what the sounds that she was hearing meant.
Her mother says that as a result of her hearing impairment due to pneumococcal meningitis, everything has changed. Whatever Lauren does requires modification to some degree since she is often limited by her hearing loss. This is the most difficult thing for Nicole to watch and she says she will "never forget the day that this all happened."
Prevention is Available
Nicole feels that any kind of prevention of the devastating effects of pneumococcal disease is worth it. "There is no reason for any child in Canada to get meningitis due to pneumococcal disease again, now that a vaccine has been approved by Health Canada and recommended by the National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI)."
Pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of bacterial infections in kids under two. It is a microscopic bacterium that causes more than 500,000 infections in children every year in Canada, including meningitis, ear infection, pneumonia and blood infection. Prevnar® is a proven safe and effective vaccine that helps protect children against pneumococcal diseases.
If you're wondering if your child is at risk, ask your doctor for more information about Prevnar® to help protect your child against serious and life-threatening illnesses caused by pneumococcal bacteria.