Trust in appeal to grandparents

Nans and grandads are being encouraged to be on the lookout for the early signs of meningitis when caring for their grandchildren.

To coincide with Grandparents’ Day on Sunday October 7, national charity, the Meningitis Trust, is seeking to raise awareness of the potentially fatal disease among senior citizens.

Statistics show grandparents are spending more time with their grandchildren than ever before, with many mums and dads now both working full-time. It is estimated that in the UK 60 per cent of childcare provision is by grandparents.*

Grandparents’ Day was launched as a special thank you day for nans and granddads in 1990 and the Meningitis Trust is keen to work with older people as they fall into one of the most at-risk age categories, along with babies and the under 5s.

Three children a week can die from the deadly bacterial meningitis which can kill in just hours if the symptoms go unrecognised. Grandparents need to be vigilant in spotting the early signs of the disease, which often starts off like flu and is usually more prevalent during the cold winter months.

In the case of babies and toddlers warning signs include refusing food, vomiting and becoming floppy and unresponsive. Parents and grandparents need to act quickly if they are worried about their children.

To find out more about the signs and symptoms of meningitis visit www.meningitis-trust.org, call 0808 80 10 388 or download a free app at www.meningitisapp.co.uk.

The Meningitis Trust started in 1986 and, since then, has supported people as they face life after meningitis. It provides the widest range of free services and community-based support for people affected by meningitis across the UK, raises awareness of the disease and funds research into its long-term impact.

Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It can strike quickly and kill within hours - its impact can last a lifetime. Each year in the UK there are some 3,400 new cases of bacterial meningitis, averaged over the last ten years, and up to 500,000 people in the UK have had meningitis. It can affect anyone, but those most at risk are children under 5, young people (15 to 24) and adults over 55.

SUE DAVIE

Chief executive, Meningitis Trust, Bath Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire