Don't let anyone bully you into your decision, for or against. This is a complex issue. Read everything you can and try to separate emotion from fact.
Breastfeed for as long as possible. Remember that babies under one have a high incidence of meningitis C because they haven't developed antibodies to it. They are more likely to be protected if they are getting protection from your body. When you breastfeed, consume an organic wholefood diet.
Once your child is on solids, make sure his organic wholefood diet is rich in selenium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E and potassium. Consider supplements for these vitamins and minerals.
Keep your children away from food that is processed or contains colourants or additives. Also avoid refined carbohydrates like white flour.
Make sure your child gets plenty of fresh air and exercise, which also help to boost immune function.
When your child is little, don't feel you have to overly sanitise him. A little dirt will help to prime his immune system. Expose him to mild bacteria in his environment.
If possible, keep small babies and young children close to home, and avoid exposing them to too many people or institutionalised settings too early. These are breeding grounds for Hib meningitis. Keep them in a home setting as long as you can and gradually introduce them to the world.
Use echinacea, garlic and other anti infectives like goldenseal and tea tree oil for the winter months.
Only have antibiotics administered when absolutely needed, and never for viral infections.
For teenagers and young adults:
Impress upon your children the importance of a whole food diet. Don't keep processed food or soft drinks in the house, so that they eat them only as treats.
Continue to give them supplements and immune boosters like vitamin A and echinacea.
Teach them to cook good, healthy food when they are young, so they will know how to feed themselves properly when they leave home.
When they are ill, show them how well alternative treatments like echinacea work.
Make sure they are living in hygienic and not overly crowded accommodation. If not, help them move.
During their first year away from home, do whatever you can to make sure they are eating well. Dormitory food is notorious for being unnutritious. Supplement their food with periodic "Care" packages which include supplements.
For children of all ages:
Consider giving any child at risk a homoeopathic nosode. The single large scale trial of homoeopathic nosodes concerns one for meningococcal disease. In 1974, more than 18,000 children were given Meningococcinum IICH prior to an epidemic. Not a single incidence of meningitis was recorded among this population, and not one child suffered any side effects (FX Eizayaga, Treatis on Homoeopathic Medicine, Buenos Aires: Ediciones Marcel, 1991). Ainsworth's, the homoeopathic pharmacy, has now produced a homoeopathic version of the meningitis C vaccine (see p7 for information).
Stay alert for early signs of meningitis the pinprick rash, stiff neck, fever, vomiting, severe headache and rush your child to the doctor at the first sign of anything suspicious. If it is bacterial meningitis, antibiotics can save his life.