A grandmother has warned families to be aware of the signs of meningitis and has urged parents to trust their instincts when they suspect their children may have the condition.
As part of Meningitis Week, which runs from September 19 to 25 Aylesbury grandmother-of-two Chris Gaskin has spoken about how her two grandchildren both contracted the illness.
Ms Gaskin said: “We took my grandson Joshua, who was five months old, to A&E at 5.30am.
“They said he had a virus and sent us away.
“By 5pm he had the rash so we took him back.
“He nearly died.
“At the time we were very scared but later we were so grateful to the NHS team who saved Joshua.
“Four years later my other grandson Dillon had meningitis when he was six weeks old.
“We could not believe we were going through exactly the same thing again.
“Dillon had pneumococcal meningitis so there was no rash.
“Now we want parents and A&E departments to be more alert that ‘it might be meningitis’.
“I would always say to parents to go back to see a doctor if a child’s symptoms get worse and don’t wait for a rash because this does not always appear.”
Meningitis Awareness Week is being run by the Meningitis Research Foundation, a charity which estimates that on average there have been around 3,200 cases of meningitis and septicaemia.
MRF chief executive Vinny Smith said: “We are so grateful to Chris and her family for raising awareness in Buckinghamshire 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 parents to get medical help if they are concerned about their child, to be vigilant, and to return to a health professional if they have been sent home but symptoms progress.”