A sharp-eyed mum who recognised the onset of meningitis in her own baby is urging others to brush up on the potentially deadly disease.
Nicola’s Lee’s son Barnaby made a full recovery - simply because she and her husband rushed him to A and E at the first suspicion.
This week the national Meningitis Trust is using the Newport Pagnell family’s story to highlight its new ‘Don’t Wait for a Rash’ campaign.
Recalls Nicola: “As soon as we got Barnaby to hospital the doctors gave him antibiotics. These stopped the meningitis rash developing and literally saved his life,” she said.
Barnaby, who was six months old at the time, is now a perfectly healthy and lively three year old.
On Christmas Eve 2008 he had a high temperature, which responded to Calpol.
Vigilant Nicola took him into her bed, where she noticed he was groaning in his sleep. When his eyes started rolling, she and her husband decided not to waste a moment.
“We didn’t even try to call the doctor. We just drove straight to the hospital. I knew it was something horrible and thoughts of meningitis were running through my mind.
Barnaby was given antibiotics so swiftly - even before a diagnostic lumber puncture was carried out - that the disease was stopped in its tracks. He was discharged after seven days observation.
Now, whenever SureStart worker Nicola visits a new place, she hands out cards describing meningitis symptoms, which include drowsiness, confusion, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, floppiness and rapid breathing.
She is urging people to download the Meningitis Trust’s free smart phone symptom-checker app from www.meningitisapp.co.uk.
Alternatively people can call the Trust’s 24 hour nurse-led helpline on 0800 028 1828 to request a free signs and symptoms card.