'My Joshua could have died from meningitis'.
Byline: Andy Richards Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
A BIRMINGHAM woman is backing a charity campaign to get people talking about viral meningitis.
Julie Davies, 43, from Rubery, said: "Viral meningitis turns your life upside down. It's vital that it's treated seriously by the public, health professionals and employers."
She has been supporting Meningitis Now's third Viral Meningitis Week, Vocal About Viral, to dispel myths and raise awareness about the long-term problems sufferers can face.
Julie's son Joshua contracted viral meningitis when he was eight years old in March last year. He suffered headaches, sickness and flu-like symptoms and was taken to the doctor.
"The doctor said it was a virus and told me to give him fluids and Calpol. I was confident that it wasn't anything worse, but by 5pm that evening he was hard to rouse and unresponsive. I took him to the walk-in centre at 6pm and they in turn sent him by ambulance to Birmingham Children's Hospital.
"He was immediately given antibiotics and sent for a brain scan. The scan showed that he had swelling around the brain and we were told to prepare for the worst.
"Josh spent three days in intensive care and a further ten days on a ward.
"I'm glad to say that Josh has made a wonderful recovery but without the Children's Hospital and Meningitis Now it could have been so different!
"It's taught me not to hesitate if you feel something isn't right. If I'd put Josh to bed thinking it was just a cold he wouldn't be here today."
Up to 6,000 people each year across the UK suffer from viral meningitis, an infection that causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. The majority of cases happen during the warmer months.
Clare Davis, director of services, research and education at Meningitis Now, said: "It's vital that everybody understands how serious viral meningitis can be and that those suffering it and their families are not afraid to speak out about it and seek the support they need.
? For more information, visit www.meningitisnow.org or freephone 0808 80 10 388.
Julie Davies with son Joshua and daughter Jessica |