Men are notorious for ignoring health warnings and avoiding visits to the doctor. Matt Barrow, from Perranporth, Cornwall, has contracted the disease twice and is backing health professionals at Meningitis Now, encouraging men to take flu-like symptoms seriously.
The advice supports Men’s Health Week (15-21 June), a national initiative designed to raise awareness of preventable health problems and early detection of disease among men and boys.
Matt said: “We often think ‘this will never happen to me’ but it does. Meningitis strikes fast and symptoms that initially seem like simple flu can deteriorate rapidly. I would encourage anyone who is suffering from any unusual symptoms to get it checked out – don’t just wait for a rash.”
Meningitis does not only occur in children and can affect anyone, at any time.
Matt first contracted meningitis is 2010. He said: “Everything happened extremely quickly. I went to bed with toothache and awoke in the middle of the night being sick. Before I knew it I couldn’t walk or talk. I didn’t know simple things like my date of birth, who my wife was or where I was.”
“I was put in an induced coma in critical care for five days and woke up feeling extremely unwell with terrible hallucinations. Four years on, I contracted the disease again, spending a further two days in a coma and nine days in critical care. I am now deaf in my right ear.”