Updated: Jul 21, 2020
21 September 2018
Written by Holly Edwards, Meningitis Research Foundation
Meningitis Awareness Week is coordinated by Meningitis Research Foundation and aims to improve public understanding of meningitis and septicaemia. A recent study has revealed that around 40% of UK adults do not believe they know what meningitis even is – a worrying statistic which highlights that lack of understanding.
Meningitis can be deadly. It acts fast, is hard to detect, and can strike at any age. The symptoms vary and can look different in each individual. Whilst some vaccines are available, no single vaccine can prevent against every type of meningitis.
Unfortunately, even when people do have this knowledge, it isn’t always enough. Our research has revealed that in 49% of cases, people with meningitis are being sent back home following their first visit to a GP.
When her 9 month old daughter Amy became ill, Kirstie Walkden did everything we would recommend. Vigilant to the signs of infection she took her daughter to the doctor, where they were referred on to hospital. Once there, Amy was wrongly diagnosed with an ear infection, and the family was sent back home.
Over the following hours Amy’s condition worsened. Although she’d been told it was an ear infection, Kirstie’s parental instincts were telling her it was something more. Fortunately Kirstie trusted her instincts and rushed Amy back to the hospital, where she was diagnosed and treated for meningitis.
Thanks to her quick actions, Amy recovered and is now doing really well. This Meningitis Awareness Week, we’re raising awareness of “safety netting” – the process to follow if a child’s condition worsens following a visit to medical professionals. Below, Kirsty tells us why this is so important to her.