Parents raise awareness of meningitis

The Arundel family.
The Arundel family.

Couple warn all parents in East Yorkshire to trust their instincts when it comes to meningitis after their baby was rushed into intensive care.

Claire and Andrew Arundel from Driffield are sharing their first-hand experience of meningitis with the local community during national Meningitis Awareness Week, which starts today (Monday September 19), to ensure people are aware of the symptoms, know to be vigilant and act fast.

Claire said, “At five and a half months old our beautiful baby girl Lydia was rushed into intensive care at Hull Royal Infirmary with pneumococcal meningitis and septicaemia.

"Those two weeks in June 2002 still seem surreal - like a really bad dream. Now a healthy teenager, we still remain amazed and delighted at the unscathed, intelligent girl she has become. We know how devastating these diseases can be, so we encourage all parents to be vigilant and know the symptoms. Nobody should have to go through what we went through.”

Meningitis Awareness Week is run by Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF). The charity estimates that there have been on average around 3,200 cases of meningitis and septicaemia every year in the UK.

They are deadly diseases that can strike 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. Babies, toddlers and young adults are most at risk.

MRF Chief Executive, Vinny Smith said, “We are so grateful to Claire and Andrew for raising awareness in Driffield 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.”

For any questions about meningitis, septicaemia and vaccinations that can prevent the diseases call MRF’s Freefone helpline on 080 8800 3344 or log on to www.meningitis.org.