The curse of meningitis: ‘I have learnt to appreciate life on a brand new level’
In October 2011 I was unfortunately diagnosed with viral meningitis. I knew very little about the disease but I now feel like an expert. I suffered for three months which as you can imagine was far from fun. I was quite literally stuck in bed every day and my life came to a complete stop as I couldn’t even get down the stairs without my father’s help.
The reason why I am writing this article is to raise awareness, I never thought it would happen to me but unfortunately it did. When I contracted viral meningitis I could barely eat, meaning I lost a considerable amount of weight, I couldn’t look at the light and I could barely walk. Life went by significantly slowly as I had no social life, I couldn’t leave the house and I couldn’t even leave my room.
Both viral and bacterial meningitis can be incredibly serious, someone I knew from school unfortunately passed away from the disease aged 16. However, I am still here so I have learnt to appreciate life on a brand new level.
The Meningitis Trust and I are urging people to look out for the symptoms and act quickly if they suspect the disease. The summer months are considered the ‘peak season’ for viral meningitis, with the majority of cases happening during this time.
Most cases of viral meningitis cannot be prevented by vaccinations and can often be mistaken for more common illnesses like flu. Every year in the UK around 5,000 people contract the disease which can leave people with severe headaches, extreme tiredness, loss of hearing, depression and memory loss, plus many other serious after-effects.
Sue Davie, Chief Executive of the Meningitis Trust says; “Although viral meningitis is rarely life-threatening, it can leave people very ill and in need of lots of rest. The after-effects from the disease can be pretty debilitating.”
Davie continues: “Viral meningitis doesn’t respond to antibiotics but it still requires urgent admission to hospital because until tests confirm that the meningitis is viral, there is every chance it could be the more serious bacterial meningitis which can kill within hours”.
This month the Meningitis Trust has launched a viral meningitis survey on its website in a bid to understand more about people’s experience of the disease. The charity is asking anyone who’s been affected by viral meningitis to log on to www.meningitis-trust.org and take the survey. The results will be used to inform the public and health professionals about the impact of viral meningitis.
For more information on both viral and bacterial meningitis visit www.meningitis-trust.org
You can also call the Meningitis Trust’s 24-hour nurse-led helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or download the free app from www.meningitisapp.co.ukTagged in: Meningitis, Meningitis Awareness Week, Meningitis trust
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