I received a call from the childminder and suddenly my whole life came to a halt. I could feel my heart pounding against my chest and all the environmental noises around me ceased to exist.
I’d sent Princess into childcare with a rash on her legs and a tummy ache, she seemed well enough though and to some extent I thought she was faking it as she knew I’d booked a day’s holiday from work; I guessed she probably wanted to stay at home with me for cuddles and painting.
I answered the phone to a concerned sounding childminder (R) who at that very moment was pressing a glass tumbler to my daughter’s arms which was now covered in bright red marks. She explained everything from her feet to right up to the palms of her hands were now enveloped in the rash and she was very concerned. R pushed the tumbler to her skin while I was on the phone holding my breath and consulted her meningitis and septicemia checklist. I could hear her reading through the steps and re-checking her results. Thankfully she said the rash faded under the pressure of the tumbler and she didn’t have any of the other symptoms on her checklist, such as an aversion to light, floppiness or a dislike of bright light.
R still sent Princess home and I rushed her to the GP to have her checked out. Thankfully it was nothing more than a very bad heat rash and she ended up staying at home with me for the day. Princess has had her meningitis jabs as well as any other childhood vaccination going. It still scared me though, those seconds when logic wasn’t kicking in as I was consumed with the fear of losing my little girl.
Bacterial Meningitis can kill in a matter of hours and kills more UK children under the age of five than any other infectious disease.
You should check out trusted resources for more information, a list of symptoms and what to do if you think someone may be displaying signs of meningitis. I’ve included links here to NHS Direct and The Meningitis Trust
I am so thankful to my childminder R for checking for symptoms and knowing what steps to take. It made me realise I needed to read up on the subject myself. There are great facilities out there, even mobile phone apps to check symptoms but when in doubt, trust your gut, even if it means rushing down to the hospital in the middle of the night. Also, from reading up some meningitis information they make it very clear that not all people develop the rash and never to wait until one forms. If your child is showing any of the other symptoms, it is time to get help. Although many people think a rash is the main symptom this is not actually the case!!
*I am not a medical professional, if you think your child has meningitis symptoms please call your health care provider or an ambulance*