A well-known Leigh businesswoman who thought her six-month-old son was going to die as he battled meningitis at Christmas wants GPs and parents to be more aware of the symptoms.
Suzanne Bennett was told to prepare for the worst after baby Mason was rushed to hospital just before Christmas.
After three agonizing weeks in hospital Mason is finally home with his family but needs MRI scans to reveal the full extent of brain damage caused by the devastating illness.
Suzanne, 36, said: “We have been through hell this Christmas. We thought Mason was going to die because the symptoms of meningitis were not picked up.
“We took him to the doctor at 3pm on Friday, December 16 and three hours later we had to call for an ambulance.
“I really do not think enough people, including doctors, know enough about the symptoms of meningitis and how devastating the effects can be.
“Everybody says to look for a rash but Mason, like 98 per cent of cases of meningitis, had no rash. He was very ill and every time we went to see our GP we were told to give him Calpol and watch his fluids.
“Next thing we knew he was struggling to breathe and we rang an ambulance. When we found out it was meningitis it was just horrific.
“Mason is lucky to be alive and I would not wish any family to go through what we have this Christmas.”
Mason underwent a course of antibiotics and needed round the clock care over Christmas.
Suzanne, her husband Craig, 41, and children Jess, 14, and Thomas, five are now caring for Mason at their home at Landor Close in Lowton.
Both Suzanne who owns Beauty by Suzanne in Leigh town centre, and Craig, who also owns a business (Lowton Carpets) are now planning fund-raising events for Mason and the Meningitis Trust.
Sue Davie of the Meningitis Trust said: “We are delighted to hear that Mason is now back with his family and we hope he makes a speedy recovery.
“At the Meningitis Trust, we are constantly reminded how devastating meningitis can be, changing people’s lives in an instant. It’s a disease that can affect anyone, of any age, at any time, however, babies and children under five are most at risk.
“Recognising the symptoms of meningitis can be difficult, as many are similar to common illnesses, such as flu.
“The rash that is commonly associated with meningitis doesn’t appear in all cases, so it is vital that people are aware of the other signs and symptoms.”
Signs and symptoms to look for in babies and toddlers:
• Refusing food or vomiting
• Fretful, dislike being handled
• Drowsy, floppy, unresponsive
• Unusual high-pitched cry, moaning
• Tense, bulging fontanelle (soft spot)
• Neck stiffness, dislike bright lights
Signs and symptoms in children and adults
• Drowsy, difficult to wake
• Confusion and irritability
• Severe muscle pain
• Severe headache
• Neck stiffness • Dislike bright lights
For more information visit www.meningitis-trust.org