Meningitis Warning

17 September 2012, 12:22 | Updated: 17 September 2012, 12:35

Parents are being urged to make sure they know the signs of meningitis as we head into the peak season for the disease.

Mum Emma Furniss from Bushey, Hertfordshire, whose 23 month old son George nearly died from meningitis in 2011 is backing a campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms.

Emma said: "George contracted group B meningococcal and septicaemia. He spent two weeks in hospital seriously ill, including a terrifying week in intensive care where he suffered three cardiac arrests and was given only a 20% chance of survival.

"I don't know what it was that made me go in and keep checking on him. There must have been some sort of instinct that made me do that but I just think thank goodness I did because I don't think he'd be here if I'd left it 'til the morning and I don't think he would have woken me up."

"Luckily he survived but we were shocked by the speed and severity of this appalling disease and feel just so relieved to have our little boy home in one piece when so many others aren't so lucky.”

Christopher Head, Chief Executive of the Meningitis Research Foundation, said: “Many people are not aware that the current vaccines available do not prevent all strains of meningitis and septicaemia so it’s vitally important that people are MeningitisWise and remain vigilant about the symptoms of meningitis."

Among the meningitis and septicaemia symptoms to look out for are:

  • Fever/vomiting
  • Limb/joint/muscle pain
  • Severe headache
  • Cold hands and feet/shivering
  • Pale or mottled skin
  • Breathing fast/breathless
  • Stiff neck
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Very sleepy/vacant/difficult to wake
  • Confused/delirious
  • Rash
  • Seizures

Find out more about the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia

Watch a video for parents of small children on keeping watch for meningitis