Brave teenager releases shocking photos of her battle with meningitis to warn others of the symptoms

Charlene Colechin almost died after meningitis complications [Photo: Charlene Colechin]
Charlene Colechin almost died after meningitis complications [Photo: Charlene Colechin]

A teenager has released photo of her fight against meningitis in a bid to ensure people recognise the signs of the killer disease.

Hairstylist Charlene Colechin was almost killed by meningitis. In a Facebook post, she described how her organs failed, causing her “to die” until doctors were able to bring her back.

Charlene Colechin almost died after meningitis complications [Photo: Charlene Colechin]

Charlene Colechin almost died after meningitis complications [Photo: Charlene Colechin]

She has been in hospital for a month and spent nine days in a medically induced coma.

The 18-year-old will have to have her toes amputated, and is waiting to hear whether her feet will also have to be removed.

She called paramedics to her home on September 6, but it was thought she had flu because she did not have any rashes. Her conditioned worsened the next day, and she was rushed to hospital.

She hopes that sharing her photos will spread awareness of the disease and prevent other people from the life-changing effects of the disease.

Charlene Colechins feet will have to be amputated [Photo: Charlene Colechin]

Charlene Colechins feet will have to be amputated [Photo: Charlene Colechin]

Symptoms

Adults

* A rash that looks like small, red pinpricks is the most common symptom typically associated with meningitis. It spreads quickly over the body and turns into red or purple blotches. Medical advice should be sought straight away if a clear glass is pressed firmly against the skin and the rash does not fade. This is a sign of blood poisoning caused by the infection.

* A high temperature over 37.5C Cold feet

Charlene Colechin almost died after meningitis complications [Photo: Charlene Colechin]

Charlene Colechin almost died after meningitis complications [Photo: Charlene Colechin]

* Vomiting Severe headache

* Stiff neck Drowsiness Aching muscles and joints A dislike of bright lights

Babies

*Refusal to feed

* Being floppy or unresponsive

* Having a bulging soft spot on the head

* Not wanting to be picked up

* Being agitated

* An unusually high-pitched cry A stiff body

Causes

Meningitis is most commonly caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

Viral meningitis

Although viral meningitis is the most common type, it rarely leads to a serious infection. It can be caused by a number of different viruses, such as mosquito-borne viruses. In the vast majority of cases, the illness resolves itself within a week without complications. There is no specific treatment for viral meningitis. Bacterial meningitis

Bacterial meningitis is generally a much more serious infection that viral meningitis. People can develop bacterial meningitis when they come into close contact with a person who is infected. It can be spread through sneezing, coughing, kissing and sharing utensils, cutlery and toothbrushes. Those with skull fractures and weakened immune systems are more likely to be infected.

Those most at risk

Meningitis can affect people of all ages. It is most common in babies and children under five Teenagers and young people are the second most at risk group. First year university students are at particular risk It is also common in elderly people and people with a weak immune system, for example those with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy

How to seek advice

Meningitis and septicaemia can kill within hours. Medical professionals advise not to wait until a rash develops to seek help. You should seek medical advice as soon as possible if you are concerned that you or your child could have meningitis.

Seeking medical advice

Dial 111 for NHS 111 Got to your local GP In an emergency Go to A&E Dial 999 to call for emergency services Depending on how serious the infection is, patients may need to be hospitalised for meningitis. Viral meningitis normally resolves itself quickly and does not usually need medical treatment. For more information visit www.nhs.uk and www.meningitisnow.org.