Childcare providers urged to sign up for meningitis awareness

CHILDCARE providers are being encouraged to demonstrate their commitment to fighting deadly meningitis by signing up to the UK’s first Meningitis Aware Recognition Mark for the sector.

The resource, developed by charity Meningitis Now, aims to raise awareness of meningitis and meningococcal disease (meningitis and septicaemia) among staff, carers and parents, promote vaccine uptake and prepare childcare providers for dealing with a case.

Kelly Archer, Information and Projects Co-ordinator at the charity, said: “Babies and young children are the age group at greatest risk of contracting meningitis.

“With so many being in the care of childcare providers when parents are at work, we have developed this resource for the sector, to help them recognise the disease and, where required, take the appropriate action.

“Awareness can and does save lives and improve outcomes.”

The Meningitis Aware Recognition Mark (MARM) features a checklist. On completion each provider will be awarded the Mark, which demonstrates that they are providing information and training to staff about the signs and symptoms of meningitis and the action to take if a child is ill.

It also demonstrates they are aware of the importance of vaccination for the prevention of meningitis and are planning ahead by having a plan in place to deal with a case or an outbreak of meningitis.

Once awarded the recognition mark can be used across digital platforms and on a wide variety of marketing and publicity materials to help instil confidence in parents looking for a childcare provider.

Each childcare provider in the UK is invited to register. Once registered, Meningitis Now will send over details on what needs to be done to receive the Mark. When completed, the Mark will last until Summer 2020.

To find out more, access the toolkit and start working towards becoming a ‘meningitis aware’ childcare setting, please visit https://www.meningitisnow.org/how-we-help/marm/.

There are about 8,000 cases of all types of meningitis each year across the UK, with the under 5s accounting for most. Each case is a tragedy for the individual, their family and friends.

The signs of meningitis can be easily mistaken for common illnesses like the flu or tummy bug. Early signs include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and muscle pain. More specific signs and symptoms include fever with cold hands and feet, drowsiness, confusion, pale blotchy skin, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights and a rash which doesn’t fade under pressure.

Meningitis Now is working towards a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need.

It does this by funding research into vaccines and prevention, raising awareness so people know what to look for and what action to take if they suspect meningitis and rebuilding futures by providing dedicated support to people living with the impact of the disease.

For more information on the work of Meningitis Now visit www.meningitisnow.org