A BRAVE couple are urging parents to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis after their baby son contracted the deadly disease for the second time.
Mason Bennett was rushed back into hospital in mid-January after an illness initially thought to be viral gastro-enteritis worsened.
The eight-month-old spent three weeks in hospital after meningitis was diagnosed, and his parents Craig and Suzanne Bennett, from Lowton, say they want to pay tribute to the medical staff who helped save Mason’s life.
Mason originally contracted meningitis just before Christmas but was allowed home again after three weeks in hospital.
Dad Craig, 41, said: “It’s a living nightmare for any parent. It was so lucky we were in hospital, because it meant the doctors acted fast. Every one of the staff at the Rainbow Ward, paediatrics and A&E have been fantastic, and they have saved his life on both occasions.
“Even now, though, we don’t know what the effects on him will be. He’s probably lost some of his hearing, and if they can’t find out why it came back he could be on medication for the rest of his life.”
Craig says parents need to be aware of the range of symptoms for meningitis, including stiff neck, high temperature, vomiting, fever, difficulty moving the head and confusion and irritability.
He says it is also vital for parents to be aware how quickly the disease can develop.
He said: “Mason did not have the same symptoms this time round as he did before Christmas, so knowing all the symptoms is a massive thing.
“If you ask people about meningitis they always recognise the rash, but there are other things parents should be looking for,.
“This time round his skin started to turn marbled, and there’s a certain distinctive cry babies with meningitis make, like a whimper. This is a disease which kills in four hours. When the symptoms appear, you’re fighting for your child’s life.”
Craig and Suzanne have been helped through their ordeal by the Meningitis Trust and Craig and his brother are planning to complete the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for the trust.
To support them, visit www.justgiving.com/craigbennett or text maso99 and an amount to donate to 70070.