childtraumaParents have been warned that advice given to them by the Secretary of State for Health on trying to 'self-diagnose' meningitis is ‘potentially fatal’.

Last weekend Jeremy Hunt allegedly suggested that parents should look online to diagnose a rash but the charity Meningitis Now has responded with a new social media campaign called #dontHUNTtherash, to ensure public safety.

Thomas Davis, Social Media Manager at Meningitis Now, said: “The response we have received to Jeremy Hunt’s comments through our online followers has been overwhelming. Many of those who interact with us through Facebook and Twitter have first-hand experience of the disease and know just how dangerous his comments are.

“This campaign highlights that the rash is just one possible symptom of meningitis. It could appear at any time and it can be one of the last signs and symptoms to develop, so it is essential that people seek urgent medical help, not resort to Google.”

A ‘pin prick’ rash that does not fade under pressure is a sign of meningococcal septicaemia. It can develop into purple bruising, and on dark skin, the rash can be more difficult to see.

The advice from Meningitis Now is to remain vigilant of all the signs and symptoms – do not wait for a rash, which may not appear at all. Other symptoms can include a fever with cold hands and feet, drowsiness, confusion, pale blotchy skin, stiff neck and dislike of bright lights.

Sue Davie, CEO of the leading UK meningitis charity, added: “To suggest that people look for an online diagnosis for a rash, rather than seek medical help, could have serious consequences for anyone who has contracted meningitis.

“We have devised this campaign to ensure that anyone suspecting meningitis seeks professional, medical help as soon as possible as we know that swift action saves lives. A rash that does not fade under pressure is an emergency and should be treated as such.”

Find out more at www.meningitis.now.org