Alison Thewliss MP is helping to raise awareness of meningitis in Glasgow Central during national Meningitis Awareness Week (19-25 September 2016) to ensure that people are aware of the symptoms, know to be vigilant and act fast.
Meningitis Awareness Week is run by Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF). The charity estimates that there have been on average around 3,200 cases of meningitis and septicaemia every year in the UK. They are deadly diseases that can strike without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life altering after-effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs. Babies, toddlers and young adults are most at risk, however these diseases can strike anyone of any age at any time.
Symptoms of meningitis can develop rapidly. The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the well-known rash (which doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it), neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion. Although a rash is often the most well-known symptom, it is often a sign that the disease is advancing rapidly and it is therefore crucial not to wait to for it to appear before seeking medical attention.
Commenting on the campaign, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“Meningitis is a devastating disease and it’s important that people act fast if they see someone displaying the early symptoms of meningitis. It can lead to life-threatening blood poisoning and can lead to permanent nerve and brain damage, which may also lead to loss of limbs.
“Meningitis vaccines can offer some protection from various types of meningitis and I would urge everyone to make sure that they are immunised against various forms of meningitis. I have a number of universities in my constituency and I would encourage all new students who are eligible for the meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccine to make getting vaccinated a priority during Freshers’ Week.
“The speed at which meningitis symptoms can advance means that it is critical that more and more people are able to recognise the symptoms and signs of meningitis. That’s why I am delighted to support Meningitis Awareness Week and the Meningitis Research Foundation in raising awareness of meningitis.”
MRF Chief Executive, Vinny Smith said:
“We are so grateful to Alison Thewliss MP for raising awareness of meningitis. MRF funds vital scientific research into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia but there are still some forms of the disease which are not covered by vaccines so it is vital that people are aware of the symptoms. We encourage everyone to be vigilant and to get medical help if you spot the symptoms.”
New university students are also being encouraged to get vaccinated against a type of meningitis that has been on the rise in this age group. The meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccine is available from the GP for those who are eligible. The vaccination programme covers all 14 to 18 year olds and 19 to 25 year olds starting university for the first time.
You can check that you know the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia at help to share the Meningitis Awareness Week campaign by visiting www.meningitis.org/maw2016 and using #MRFAwarenessWeek on social media.
For any questions about meningitis, septicaemia and vaccinations that can prevent the diseases call MRF’s free helpline on 080 8800 3344 or visit www.meningitis.org.