Communal cup and meningitis

A cup of espresso

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Every year there are small and scattered outbreaks of meningitis around the country.  It is important to know if and how m

eningitis is spread.  If it is contagious how can you lessen the chances of you and your teen of getting it?  Do you really have to worry about the communal cup and meningitis?

That is an important question if you and your family are one of the millions that take confession every Sunday or for your teenagers who tend to pass and share a communal cup of water about the dorm room.

You know that when your teen heads off to college that he will come into contact with new bugs and new diseases.  They are sharing in their dorm rooms more than air.  They are sharing clothes, drinks, cigarettes and food.  Sure they can get a cold, but is that communal eating and drinking going to pass on meningitis?

Don’t let them getting meningitis to learn after the fact that, YES, meningitis is commonly transmitted between teenagers at college, by the mere fact that they are indeed communal living and most likely drinking from the communal cup with each other.

So just why is the communal cup so helpful in the spreading of meningitis?  This is because teenagers share many bodily fluids that contain the virus or the bacteria that cause meningitis.  Bodily fluids such as saliva, tears and sweat can be the culprits of transmission.

The bacteria or virus can be transmitted by the sharing of a towel, t-shirt or robe.  Other things like drinking from the same pop can or water glass, putting your toothbrush in the same cup as another who has meningitis.  Or just think about the contact involved in the act of kissing.  These are common ways to spread this highly dangerous disease.

If your teenager goes to church and takes confession, the communal cup is passed through the whole congregation.  In Lafayette Louisiana in 2006, a Bishop ordered that communal cup sharing at confession be stopped until further notice due to a bacterial meningitis outbreak in the area.

It seems that the University of Louisiana had a small breakout and because of medical advice the Bishop was prompted to place this order against Communion from the cup. The University sent its own strong recommendations out to the college community.  Don’t share cups, food, clothes and make sure to wash your hands frequently.

We all live in a world full of dangers and sometimes we just can not avoid getting an illness.  There are vaccinations we can take that will prevent some, but not all of the forms of meningitis.  Good hygiene is helpful, but it too cannot prevent someone from getting the disease.  There are also medications that can help ward off the disease after an outbreak.

All we can do is try our best to use those precautions at hand that may aid us in staying healthy.  Take your vitamins, use good hand washing techniques and most of all try and not share things with other people, especially if they are showing any signs of an illness. If you are showing any signs of the illness then get to your doctor.

Meningitis does not rear up and scream, “I am deadly”, it can appear as a cold at first or worse the flu.  We need to be aware of the idea that it can be more.  Communal cup and meningitis is a pair that we should break up.  Communal living is not something that can be helped.  Be aware take action.

Filed under: Teen Issues

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