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Harry H’s Story

3rd May 2023

Mother’s Day took an unexpected turn for Jessica, from Fareham, and her new-born son when he developed a fever which turned out to be viral meningitis

Harry H’s Story

“On Mother’s Day 2023 my five-week-old son, Harry, developed a high temperature.

“Because Harry was otherwise okay, feeding well and having wet nappies (the usual things the GP would ask when a child is poorly) we decided to monitor Harry at home and see how it went.

Red flag

“At this point we weren’t aware that a temperature in a baby under three months old was considered a ‘red flag’ and something which should be investigated immediately.

“This is still something I still feel a huge amount of guilt over, as had we known this we wouldn’t have hesitated to seek advice straight away.

By the following morning Harry’s temperature had risen above 39 and he was becoming more and more sleepy.

“I called the GP first thing in the morning. They advised we went straight to A&E to be seen immediately. This is when I realised how seriously a high temperature is considered in a baby of his age.

Worst nightmare

“The care we received in A&E was second to none, we were seen immediately and that was when Meningitis was first mentioned - every parent’s worst nightmare.

“The next few days were a blur. Harry had numerous blood tests and they put in a cannula for IV antibiotics. Because of his age this was difficult to put in and we watched as they tried multiple times. Both his hands were so bruised. He seemed so little to be going through all of this.

“Harry’s temperature continued to rise despite being given paracetamol and ibuprofen. He was so sleepy and had become very pale and mottled.


“Harry’s white blood count came back high, indicating an infection. The doctors then decided to do a lumbar puncture. Watching our new-born baby be taken away for this was heart-breaking as we aren’t allowed to be present.

“The doctor came to see us after a few hours and broke the news that Harry did in fact have meningitis. The doctors were hopefully that his case was viral. That was confirmed a few days later.

“Harry started to turn a corner and we were allowed home.

“After a whirlwind five days in hospital we were pleased to be going home, but also so anxious to take our baby home knowing he was still overcoming viral meningitis.

More awareness

“We felt like there was little information about this type of meningitis and what to expect.

“We found the Meningitis Now website and people’s stories really helpful as we had lots of unanswered questions when we left hospital.

“This is what inspired us to tell our story as I feel there should be more awareness around this type of meningitis which can present with just a high fever and no rash.

“Harry is such a happy and content baby and we are so grateful that he seems to have made a full recovery with no long-term effects. We have a follow up appointment and hearing test in a few months but remain positive that our little boy was one of the lucky ones.