Meningitis Awareness Week – What you should know!

Meningitis babyA while ago I wrote a post about Mette Mitchel’s lovely webshop called Flawless. I’m sure you remember that post, as all the items Mette sells are seriously wonderful.
But that’s besides the point, this time.

When I was browsing Mette’s shop, I found out that Mette’s daughter Miko fell very ill with meningitis at the young age of 7 months.
Meningitis! I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but I knew it was super scary and extremely dangerous. I sent Mette an email, and told her I was glad her baby was alive and well. In her reply she told me how frightful it had been, how happy and thankful she is that Miko is alive and well today and that she now donates 10% of all of the sales made at Flawless Home Parties to a UK Children’s Charity, the Meningitis Research Foundation. She also mentioned that it would be Meningitis Awareness Week in the UK this week…

Quickly the idea took place to help spread the awareness of meningitis (and septicaemia), as, I found out, it is EXTREMELY important to know the symptoms of this disease. Meningitis moves fast. Very fast. It’s all about recognizing the symptoms and getting help ASAP.

So… What exactly is meningitis (in short)?

meningitisMeningitis describes any infection to the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (shown in blue on the diagram), which is contained within protective membranes called the meninges. (Picture courtesy of
The infection is caused by a virus or bacteria which gets into the lining and inflames it.

Viral meningitis is unpleasant but almost never fatal and most sufferers recover. Bacterial meningitis is more serious as the bacteria can spread from the linings of the brain into the blood stream and cause septicaemia (blood poisoning). If not treated quickly this can be fatal, or leave survivors with after-effects as severe as brain damage, deafness or amputations.
One in ten people carry the bacteria which can cause meningitis and septicaemia harmlessly in their noses and throats. These bacteria cannot survive outside the body for long and are passed between people by close or intimate contact.
Anyone can catch meningitis and septicaemia, but babies and the under-fives are the most at-risk group.

How can you recognize meningitis?

Meningitis and septicaemia can be hard to diagnose in the early stages as the early symptoms resemble a lot of flu-like illnesses. Parents of very young children need to be aware of symptoms like blotchy skin, pain and irritability from muscle aches and a tense or bulging soft-spot on their baby’s head. Parents should trust their instincts and seek medical attention if they suspect their child may have meningitis or septicaemia.

Now, please take a minute to visit, or the Meningitis Foundation of America, or ANY place where you can learn about this disease, and study the symptoms, the glass test, everything.

xxx Esther

P.S. Thanks to Neil from the Meningitis Research Foundation for helping me with the description of meningitis.

P.P.S. Mette will be our first-ever guest writer today with her personal story about how her daughter fought meningitis.


Comments (2)

September 17, 2008

The Meningitis Foundation of America (MFA), a national organization, would like the public and media to know that information is available regarding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of meningitis. MFA was founded by parents whose children were affected by meningitis. In addition to supporting vaccines and other means of preventing meningitis, the MFA provides information to educate the public and medical professionals so that the early diagnosis, treatment and, most important, prevention of meningitis, will save lives. Meningitis is a dangerous and sometimes fatal inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord that can leave survivors with serious life-long physical problems such as deafness, brain damage and other disabilities, meningitis can sometimes result in loss of limbs. MFA would like to be considered as a news resource for the disease. For further information, visit the MFA website at

MFA is proud to announce the new C.I.S.S. Container Identification Scratch System
When we participate in sporting events or mingle at social gatherings it is possible to lose track of our water bottles and/or beverage cans, especially those served in containers that are very similar or identical to a container from which you are drinking. This carries the risk of transmitting an illness, such as meningitis or the common cold or flu. The Container Identification Scratch System, or C.I.S.S., is a fun way to make sure you always know your drink from others. Use it at sporting events or at a family gatherings and reduce the waste from forgotten drinks. Simply scratch your number from the C.I.S.S. label and identify your drink. For more information please contact Bob Gold at and

Thank you,

Meningitis Foundation of America
212 W 10th Street, Suite B-330
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(800) 668-1129

Emily Anderson
September 17, 2008

My son Connor suffered from meningitis when he was just seven months old. He was unwell with an ear infection so I took him to the doctor’s surgery. On the wall in the waiting room I saw the ‘Meningitis Baby Watch’ poster (featured on this blog). Connor was given antibiotics for the ear infection and we headed home. When we got home he became more ill and his symptoms matched those on the poster. I was desperately worried that he had meningitis so I rushed him to hospital. By the time we arrived he was unconscious. Connor was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis, moved to the High Dependency Unit and spent 11 days in hospital. It was terrifying to see him in Intensive Care with intravenous drips in his arms, but thankfully he started to respond to the treatment and within a few days was sitting up and smiling. Connor went on to make a full recovery and is now a happy and healthy three-year-old.

Not everyone who suffers from meningitis is as lucky as Connor and I can’t stress enough how important it is to be aware of the symptoms. The information on the Baby Watch poster provided by Meningitis Research Foundation helped me recognise the symptoms and undoubtedly saved Connor’s life.

The speed at which meningitis and septicaemia can strike is terrifying. I’d urge every parent to visit where you can get free symptoms information. It could help you save a life.

Emily Anderson

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