As a toddler of the ‘80s, I was pretty ecstatic when an invitation to interview Soleil Moon Frye (AKA, Punky Brewster) appeared in my inbox. I watched “Punky Brewster” religiously as a young girl. Punky’s free, resilient spirit was infectious and darling—to not point out her on-point ‘80s vogue sensibilities. The freckles, the solar hair clips, the pigtails, the mismatched sneakers … oh my!
Although Soleil Moon Frye appeared approach older than me as she graced the TV display, it seems that she’s just a few years older than me. And, similar to me, she’s a mother attempting to navigate this loopy world with a few youngsters in tow. Frye’s acquired 4 youngsters, together with her nearly sixteen-year-old daughter, Poet.
And that’s the place our story begins, as a result of the rationale for my interview with Frye was to not chat about her iconic purple vests and completely cuffed denims, however to debate a problem pertaining to elevating youngsters that she lately turned captivated with: the meningitis B vaccine.
It all began with a dialog she had with pal, who instructed her that meningitis B was a severe problem for teenagers and one thing she ought to look into additional.
“We were having a conversation, a heart-to-heart, and then I started doing more research and realized that this meningitis B … one of the groups it affects most is 16 to 23 year olds, which I didn’t realize,” Frye tells me.
Honestly, I had no concept both (and I write parenting and well being articles for a residing!). According to the CDC, there are a couple of teams of people who find themselves most in danger for contracting meningitis B, together with infants below the age of 1, people who find themselves immunocompromised, and adolescents, aged 16-23.
The cause for that is that teenagers and younger adults are extraordinarily social, have shut contact with each other, and sometimes dwell in shut quarters. In truth, there have been a number of meningitis B outbreaks at universities over the previous few years.
Let’s be clear: meningitis B (and all the opposite meningitis strains) is not any joke. Bacterial meningitis infections are uncommon, however after they occur, they trigger extraordinarily harmful points. Meningitis begins with flu-like signs however rapidly progresses to irritation of the spinal wire, mind, and might result in sepsis and dying.
Even with remedy, 1 in 10 individuals who contract meningitis will die. That is totally terrible.
But, you is perhaps considering, our youngsters get vaccinated in opposition to meningitis, proper? So they’ll be okay, proper?
Here’s the factor, although, there are totally different sorts of meningitis, and whereas our youngsters routinely get vaccines for meningitis A, C, W, and Y (often at 11 and 12 years previous, with a booster at 16, in response to the CDC), the meningitis B vaccine is a comparatively new vaccine, and isn’t routinely given by most pediatricians.
That’s why Frye determined to hitch Ask2BSure, a marketing campaign to coach mother and father about meningitis B and the meningitis B vaccine.
“I think so often people think that their kids have been vaccinated against meningitis when they were younger, and so going into school and not realizing that it’s totally different,” Frye tells me.
Frye tells me that though meningitis B vaccines can be found to guard our teenagers (they have been authorised to be used by the FDA in 2014 and 2015), most teenagers haven’t been vaccinated in opposition to meningitis B. Yet as much as 60% of meningitis infections in youngsters 16-23 are of the meningitis B pressure.
“Four out of five 17-year-olds haven’t even received the first dose of meningitis-B vaccination,” says Frye. “I was so blown away when I learned the numbers because I think so many of us have certain assumptions, and then learning about it—and although meningitis is an uncommon illness, it can cause life-threatening complications and death.”
Frye talked about a number of the heartbreaking tales of fogeys she’d spoken to whose kids have been significantly harmed or whose lives have been misplaced to a meningitis B an infection.
“I’ve been listening to these incredible stories, like Jamie, who survived meningitis—her journey,” Frye mentioned. “And Patti, whose daughter got meningitis right before prom; she was about to go to prom, prom dress still hanging, and she died. Just hearing these stories, talking about it, raising these conversations, I think is incredibly important.”
You can watch Jamie’s story right here (deliver tissues):
And you’ll be able to learn Patsy’s story right here. This one is totally devastating.
Frye emphasised that the Ask2BSure marketing campaign isn’t a “you must get the vaccine or else” marketing campaign, however slightly an academic marketing campaign for folks—a nudge for folks to open up a dialogue with their pediatrician concerning the meningitis B vaccine, and whether or not it is smart for his or her teen to get it.
Frye tells me that the pandemic is without doubt one of the causes she took an interest on this marketing campaign. So many households have been occupied with the well being of their youngsters in new methods, she mentioned, and understanding the significance of getting open conversations with our medical doctors and educating ourselves about our youngsters’ well being dangers, is essential.
In truth, Frye’s household lately was instantly affected by COVID-19. Frye mentioned that regardless of doing every part she might to guard them, three out of 4 of her youngsters acquired COVID, and it was a little bit of a wake-up name for her.
“I thought my son had a cold. Or a flu or a fever,” Frye mentioned, about her household’s COVID expertise. “And my pediatrician was like, ‘You have to test him,’ and I was like, ‘What? Us? How is this possible?’”
Frye shares that fortunately her kids are actually effective, however the expertise taught her that even when you assume you might be doing every part proper, your youngsters are literally extra weak to well being scares than you may notice. That’s why we must be on prime of their well being, and all the time be in dialogue with their medical doctors about the perfect methods to guard them.
“I think it’s really important to have conversations, to empower ourselves with knowledge, and to help better educate each other,” Frye mentioned.
“And I can speak for myself in saying, I didn’t know about meningitis-B—I’m just being super honest—and it’s something I learned. I’m really happy that I learned it, and I’m really grateful that this time, during the pandemic, that I’ve been able to better educate myself,” she added.
Like I mentioned, I had no concept about meningitis B, both. As the mother of a 14-year-old, I’m most undoubtedly going to be speaking to my pediatrician about my son’s danger of contracting meningitis, and whether or not the meningitis B vaccine is perhaps the fitting alternative for him.
So large kudos for one among my ‘80s childhood heroes for bringing this essential problem to my consideration—and to the eye of fogeys in every single place.
For extra details about meningitis B, the meningitis B vaccine, and begin a dialog along with your pediatrician about it, go to the Ask2BSure web site.