Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Meningitis - be aware!

Meningitis can be a devastating disease and can kill in hours - but, if caught in time, it can be treated very successfully.  The key is being aware - knowing the symptoms and acting quickly.  I've had meningitis five times in total; very unusual most definitely, but have recovered completely every single time.  I am here today because the symptoms were known, recognised and treated quickly. 

Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. It can appear out of nowhere, when you least expect it.  The initial symptoms can appear to be flu like - headache and aches.  Any sensitivity to light/vomiting or the appearance of a stiff neck MUST be investigated and soon. 

The Meningitis Research Foundation works to support research into the illness and develop medication to help prevent it.  Their website has a Book of Experience - the stories of people who've suffered from the illness.  My story is there.  A proud survivor - never a victim.

Key symptoms are:
  • Fever / vomiting
  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Very sleepy / vacant / difficult to wake
  • Confused / delirious
  • Rash
  • Seizures
I suffered from all of these bar the rash and seizures - the last time I had it, in the space of 20 minutes I went from suffering from a headache to being barely conscious.  Fortunately, by the time this happened, I was already in hospital (I knew that, the second I had a headache with vomiting, it's time to get to the hospital, as quickly as I could). 

Make sure you learn the symptoms, keep an eye out for them - if you suspect someone you know is showing symptoms, get them to the hospital immediately.  It's better to look like you've over-reacted than not.  This is a life and death situation - looking like an idiot will be the least of your problems!

Be aware, learn the symptoms, get treatment immediately - it's key to survival. 

If you'd like to support the Meningitis Research Foundation, check out their website - they could always take more help! They have some great Christmas cards or you can donate online, by post, or by phone .. check out all the ways you can donate here

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