Rite Aid is keenly aware of how illness and disease can affect one's wellness. That's why we are with you to help you and your family prevent diseases like Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Hib is a bacterial illness that can lead to a potentially fatal brain infection in young children. It may also cause other complications like: meningitis (inflammation of the tissues covering the brain and spinal column), infections of the blood, pneumonia, infectious arthritis and infections in other body parts.
Haemophilus influenzae disease, including Hib, is the result of infection with the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae. There are six types of Haemophilus influenzae bacteria identified (a through f) and other non-identifiable forms called nontypeable. The most recognizable is Hib.
Hib is transmitted from person-to-person by direct contact or with respiratory droplets, like those from sneezing or coughing. Usually the bacteria remain in the throat and nose and are harmless. Sometimes the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and spread, resulting in serious infection. Hib is typically spread by individuals who have the bacteria in their noses and throats, but who are not ill themselves (asymptomatic). The incubation period (time between exposure and initial symptoms) of Hib is unknown, but could be as short as a few days.
Hib manifests itself differently depending on which part of the body is affected. The most common severe types of Haemophilus influenzae disease are:
A vaccine is available that can help to prevent disease caused by Hib, but is not effective with other strains of the Haemophilus influenzae bacteria.
In the U.S., the vaccine is usually administered to infants starting at two months and is recommended for all children under five years of age. In cases where persons are fully vaccinated, but at a heightened risk for Hib disease, additional doses may be recommended. Older children, adolescents, and adults who are not immunized for Hib, but have certain medical conditions, should also get the Hib vaccine.
The Hib vaccine helps to prevent meningitis (an infection of the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord), pneumonia (infection of the lungs), epiglottitis (a severe infection of the throat), and other serious infections caused by the Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria. It can be safely combined with other vaccines to make combination vaccines, so individuals can receive protection from Hib, plus other diseases, from a single shot.