A life-saving lesson

Jo Laing with Delvin Bashoma and Isabella Foster, both aged 4.
Jo Laing with Delvin Bashoma and Isabella Foster, both aged 4.

The not-for-profit Amanda Young Foundation held its annual Kiddy Canter event yesterday for National Meningococcal Day at Carmel Adventist College Primary School in Bickley and other participating schools, childcare centres and kindergartens across WA.

A free education pack was provided with the storybook Melrose Mare Stamps Out Bad Bugs, together with activities to teach children the importance of washing their hands regularly and not sharing drink bottles or food.

Local health promotion officer Jo Laing said meningococcal disease spread through saliva.

‘Not sharing food or drinks is a big part of our education program, as well as encouraging young children to cover a sneeze or cough with their elbows,’ Mrs Laing said.

Barry and Lorraine Young, of Gosnells, started the education service about 15 years ago after they lost their 18-year-old daughter Amanda to the bacterial infection.

Mrs Laing said parents received free information to help them identify key systems of the disease in the hope awareness would save lives by giving child carers the confidence to seek medical attention early.

Symptoms for meningococcal septicaemia can include sudden, severe pain in arms, legs, joints or stomach, shivering, chills, cold hands and/or feet, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, fever and a rash that can start off looking like a pimple or faint pinpricks and develop into purple blotches over time.

Symptoms for meningococcal meningitis can include a severe headache, sensitivity to light, a painful neck, nausea/vomiting and fatigue.

For more information or to organise a free educational presentation, visit amandayoung foundation.org.au.