RACHEL Tuppen considers it ‘lucky’ her baby son Dylan was left with just a slight speech problem after he suffered meningitis at 10 months old.
For the Seaford mum knows how dangerous the disease can be and now she is encouraging readers to Be MeningitisWise during Meningitis Awareness Week next week (September 17 to 23) and know the symptoms.
It was just after the August bank holiday weekend when Dylan became ill.
“We’d been to the Donkey Derby and thought as it was a hot day he might have got sunstroke,” said Rachel, of Sutton Park Road.
After being sent home from hospital on one occasion, they returned and a lumbar puncture test proved positive for meningitis.
“You could have heard a pin drop when they told us,” Rachel said.
“He was treated and luckily made a full recovery, with a slight speech problem, but it made me realise how lucky we were compared to others who have been less fortunate.
”We were told if it had been 24 hours later it could have been a different story.”
Dylan is now three and as well as being involved in Meningitis Awareness Week Rachel is taking on a 5km Fun Run in Brighton in aid of the cause.
“I was only 18 or 19 at the time and new to parenting,” she said.
“I knew about the glass test when there was a rash but Dylan didn’t have a rash and I didn’t know about the other signs.”
Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) says meningitis and septicaemia affect around 3,600 people in the UK and Ireland annually.
They are deadly diseases that can strike anyone without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life altering after-effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs.
Christopher Head, Chief Executive of MRF, said: “Vaccines do not prevent all strains of meningitis and septicaemia yet, so it’s vitally important that the people of Sussex are MeningitisWise and remain aware of the symptoms.”
Go to www.meningitis.org