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Southampton Paralympian's meningitis warning
HE COUNTS himself as one of the lucky ones.
While most people would consider losing both legs to a potentially deadly illness a devastating life-changing experience, Southampton Paralympian Aaron Phipps knows it could have been much worse.
Had his parents not known the signs of meningitis, the 30-year-old would not be alive today.
Now he is warning parents of young children and students of the dangers of the disease during national Meningitis Awareness Week so everyone is aware of the symptoms that could help save a loved one.
The wheelchair rugby GB star contracted group C Meningococcal Septicaemia in 1999, when he was 15.
Thanks to his parents having spotted the signs of the disease early, doctors had a head start in their battle to fight the infection.
Due to their quick intervention, Aaron’s life was saved, but he faced a year in hospital recovering and lost his lower legs and fingertips.
Aaron said: “If it wasn’t for my mum and dad knowing the symptoms I might not have been so lucky. Fifteen years later I am married and a dad to Ella, and last year got to play wheelchair rugby for Great Britain at the Paralympics.
“I feel lucky to have achieved so much since coming out of hospital. That’s why I’m supporting Meningitis Awareness Week. Everyone needs to know about these diseases.”
The Meningitis Research Foundation estimates meningitis and septicaemia affect ten people in the UK and Ireland every day.
They are deadly diseases that can strike without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with serious after-effects.
Children under five and students are most at risk, but the diseases can strike at any age.
MENINGITIS: THE SYMPTOMS
Symptoms of bacterial meningitis: A severe headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, feeling generally unwell, a blotchy red rash that does not fade or change colour when you place a glass against it.
Symptoms of viral meningitis: Headaches, fever, generally not feeling very well, neck stiffness, muscle or joint pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, sensitivity to light.
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