Dad backs campaign to spot killer symptoms

PUBLISHED: 12:30 06 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:27 10 June 2010

AN Exmouth dad-of-two is backing a national campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis. Dave Somerton-Rees, 46, from Exeter Road, two years ago faced the fear most parents dread when his one-year-old son, William Smith, contracted

AN Exmouth dad-of-two is backing a national campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis.Dave Somerton-Rees, 46, from Exeter Road, two years ago faced the fear most parents dread when his one-year-old son, William Smith, contracted the most deadly form of the disease.Thanks to the quick-thinking of the tot's doctor, Judith Aarons, from Haldon House Surgery, young William, now three, made a full recovery without any of the devastating affects meningitis can cause.Dad Dave, who now fundraises for the Meningitis Trust, said he realises the outcome could have been very different if his son's symptoms had not been spotted in time.The youngster was diagnosed with meningitis after he began being sick and was listless.Dr Aarons gave William a shot of antibiotics and sent him straight to hospital after noticing a small red mark on the little boy's chest.Mr Somerton-Rees said: "It was horrendous when they said it was meningitis. It was like the world stopped. He was in intensive care but luckily they caught it early enough that he got over it."If we'd have said we'll wait until the morning and see how he is, or even half an hour, the outcome could have been very different."The Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) is urging people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis to help cut levels of the illness.Its campaign coincides with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) releasing figures which show an increase in reported cases of the disease during December 2008 and January 2009.MRF chief executive Christopher Head said: "The latest figures remind us that meningitis and septicaemia are a significant threat. These deadly diseases can kill in hours. "The most important thing you can do to protect your family against menB is to know the symptoms and act quickly this could save a life. "It is also vital to ensure they have all their immunisations to protect against other kinds of meningitis and septicaemia."n Life saving symptoms information is available free of charge from the foundation's freefone 24 hour helpline - 080 8800 3344 or by visiting the website www.meningitis.org

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