THE parents of a poorly teenager were stunned to discover she had potentially deadly meningitis - despite not displaying one of the common symptoms.
Megan Whitehead, aged 14, spent five days in Sheffield Children’s Hospital after doctors diagnosed the condition.
Her worried family didn’t believe she had meningitis because there was no sign of a rash, one of the symptoms parents are told to look out for.
Mum Kay Whitehead, of Flockton Avenue, Handsworth, said: “They always say look out for a rash with meningitis and I think now if we had waited for that symptom Megan might not be here.
“I always think if we hadn’t gone to the hospital that day, what would have happened?
“I want to warn other parents.
“We were totally devastated because we never even guessed that she had it - I really did think it was just flu or that norovirus.”
All Saints Catholic High School student Megan started to feel unwell on Christmas Eve.
By the following day she was vomiting and started to complain of headaches.
But when she wasn’t any better on Boxing Day worried Kay and dad Anthony, 50, called NHS Direct and then took her to the walk in medical centre on Broad Lane.
There a doctor said he didn’t believe she had meningtitis but sent Megan to the Children’s Hospital just to make sure.
It was only a lumbar puncture - where fluid is taken from the spine, often to diagnose meningitis - which confirmed her condition.
Kay, a 41-year-old doctor’s receptionist in Burngreave, added: “Whether there was just a bit of doubt in the doctor’s mind I don’t know – but thank God he did have.
“They said they’d caught it in time, it was so scary.”
After a course of anti-biotics, steroids and rest Megan is now back at school, although she is not yet fully recovered.
She said: “You see this happening to other people but don’t expect this to happen to you - all my friends were shocked.
“I’d definitely tell people to look out.
“Because I had flu-like symptoms we just thought it was that.”