A Sheffield mum is encouraging parents in the city to take up new free meningitis vaccines for their children - after nearly losing her own child to the deadly disease.
Sarah Walsh’s daughter Lily was just nine months old when she began running a high temperature and refusing to eat. Quick-thinking mum Sarah took her to see their GP.
At the doctor’s urging, Sarah, of Handsworth, rushed her daughter to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where, following a quick barrage of tests, they confirmed meningitis.
Sarah said: “My world fell apart when I heard that word. To make things worse, she deteriorated rapidly once we got to the hospita; her temperature was out of control and her breathing was laboured. I can’t thank the staff enough for their swift response, putting her on IV antibiotics and dealing with her pain. It was a difficult 24 hours, with lots of crying and poking and prodding, but by the same time the next day, she was already picking up and over the worst.
“The doctors stressed to me the importance of how fast I acted when seeking medical advice.”
Lily is now aged three-and-a-half and is totally healthy, and the experience has driven Sarah to back a brand new meningococcal B, meningitis and septicaemia vaccination programme for babies, introduced into the UK’s immunisation programme at the start of this month.
As national Meningitis Awareness Week kicks off today, Sarah added: “Lily is now a very confident, happy and chatty toddler and I’m so happy that she survived. I know how devastating these diseases can be, so I would urge all who are eligible to make sure they get the vaccines.”
Visit www.meningitis.org for details of these diseases.