We use necessary cookies that allow our site to work. We also set optional cookies that help us improve our website For more information about the types of cookies we use, visit our Cookies policy and manage your preferences.


Harriet's story

16th January 2015

Eighteen-year-old student Harriet had been feeling ill for a while but when she collapsed whilst going for a drink of water it was time to call an ambulance

Harriet's story

“I had been feeling ill for a while and we were told I could be diabetic or be anaemic.

So, I had taken a week off from university and the Sunday before I fell ill I had returned to university from home.

On the Sunday morning around 2am I began violently shaking for two hours as I felt really cold. I had a high temperature, a headache, lethargy, nose pain and was dehydrated.

I had my temperature checked and I was extremely hot. I was sweating even though I packed the layers on to stay warm. I kept drinking and drinking, going through several glasses and still feeling very thirsty.

In the end I got up to go to the bathroom for water and collapsed. My friend picked me up and placed me back in bed. After waiting for me to come around an ambulance was called and I was taken to A&E."

Fighting for my life

“Vitals were taken, I had a high heart rate, low blood pressure and felt very weak. Lumbar punctures were also taken. I was extremely dehydrated, my kidneys were failing and my veins couldn't stay open.

I was in such a bad state I was admitted to the High Dependency Unit, where lines were placed into me, drips coming out my neck and arms. I was fighting for my life.

After being in the HDU for six days I was recovering well and sent to a normal ward where I continued to take my antibiotics for 10 days until I was discharged 12 days after the whole illness started."

Happy to be alive and well

“I am very happy to still be alive and well. The only after-effect I have had is that I am now partly deaf in my right ear.

I was told I had meningitis W and septicaemia, one of the rarest strains of meningitis, and the mortality rate is so high they were shocked I survived. But I did and I am extremely happy that I have.

I want people to feel comfortable to ask me about my illness so I can make them aware of what I had, as people don't understand how serious it was.

I found out about Meningitis Now in hospital. They’ve enabled me to help educate others on the illness that I had as many didn't understand how serious it can be.”

With news that a MenACWY vaccine is going to be introduced into the routine vaccination schedule, view the most frequently asked questions and answers here.