A Fife mum is sharing her frightening experience of meningitis to help save lives.
As Meningitis Awareness Week starts today, Inverkeithing’s Gemma Lessells will discuss meningitis and septicaemia with the local community to ensure people are aware of the symptoms, know to be vigilant, and act fast.
“My son Matthew contracted meningitis B in 2010 when he was 13 months old,” Gemma said.
“He was quiet and had a temperature at 4pm.
“He started being sick at 6pm and by 10 pm he was in hospital fighting for his life.
“He had cannulas everywhere, they were taking his blood pressure every 15 minutes.
“His heart rate was 210 and his temperature on admission was 40.9.
“We were incredibly lucky — Matthew survived, though has delayed expressive speech and suffered night terrors following his hospital stay, but other than that we have a gorgeous healthy happy boy with a laugh that lights up a room.
“I know how devastating these diseases can be, so I would urge everyone to be aware of the symptoms,” said the ambassador.
Meningitis Awareness Week is run by Meningitis Research Foundation.
The charity estimates that there have been on average around 3,200 cases of meningitis and septicaemia every year in the UK.
They are deadly diseases which can strike without warning, killing one in 10, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life altering after effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs.
Babies, toddlers and young adults are most at risk.
MRF Scotland manager Mary Millar said: “We are so grateful to Gemma for raising awareness during Meningitis Awareness Week.
“MRF funds vital scientific research into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia but there are still some forms of the disease which are not covered by vaccines so it is vital that people are aware of the symptoms.
“We encourage everyone to be vigilant and to get medical help if you spot the symptoms.”
Ms Millar said the public can check the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia at www.meningitis.org/symptoms and share the Meningitis Awareness Week campaign from www.meningitis.org/maw2016 with everyone they knew using #MRFAwarenessWeek.
For any questions about meningitis, septicaemia and vaccinations that can prevent the diseases the public can call MRF’s helpline on 080 8800 3344 or log on to www.meningitis.org.