Mum’s meningitis warning: the day I nearly lost my Jacob

Lynn Bayliss from Clifton on Dunsmore and two year old Son Jacob, who survived meningitis
Lynn Bayliss from Clifton on Dunsmore and two year old Son Jacob, who survived meningitis

LITTLE Jacob is full of mischief - but his mum wouldn’t have it any other way.

That’s because he wasn’t expected to survive meningitis when he was five months old.

Lynn Bayliss said she didn’t think there was anything seriously wrong when her son, now nearly three, fell ill. Her son contracted pneumococcal meningitis at an early age.

“We were told to prepare for not bringing him home from University Hospital,” said Lynn, of North Street, Clifton.

“There was a little lad with pneumonia being treated on the same ward and I said I felt so sorry for him because he couldn’t breathe. I was told Jacob was much more poorly and even then it didn’t really sink in how ill he was.”

She said her son’s main symptoms were cold hands and feet and being off colour.

“It was nothing I could really put my finger on,” said Lynn, who is speaking out during Meningitis Awareness Week.

“He was letting out a really horrible moaning and then started to have fits.

“At no time did we ever think there was anything serious wrong – let alone the fact it could be meningitis - that was something that happened to other people.”

The disease kills one in ten and leaves a quarter of survivors with life-altering after-effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs.

Lynn said: “We have never felt as helpless as parents and it was very difficult for us to understand and comprehend the seriousness of the illness.”

Jacob remained in hospital for nearly three weeks and ‘touch wood’ he has no lasting effects although he is still very young and the effects may show a little later in his life.

Lynn said: “He nearly died but he is a fighter and in time his health improved.

“Jacob is a lovely little boy. He can be very cheeky but I’m glad he is because he is alive.”

She advised parents to wise up on the symptoms and act quickly if your child is showing any of them.

The infection can be caused by bacteria or a virus, and it leads to membranes near the brain becoming inflamed (swollen). This can damage the nerves and brain.

Meningitis causes symptoms such as: severe headache, vomiting, high temperature (fever) of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or over, stiff neck, sensitivity to light a distinctive skin rash (although not everyone will develop this).