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Meningitis teenager shares photos to raise awareness – BBC News

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Image copyright Charlene Colechin
Image caption Charlene Colechin said she feels lucky to be alive after being struck by meningitis

A teenage girl who nearly died from meningitis has shared photos of her rash-covered body in an attempt to raise awareness of the disease.

Charlene Colechin, 18, described how her organs failed, causing her “to die” until doctors managed to save her.

The hair stylist, from near Chesterfield in Derbyshire, has been in hospital for a month and spent nine days in a medically induced coma.

She still faces surgery to remove her toes and possibly her feet.

Image copyright Charlene Colechin
Image caption The 18-year-old is a hair stylist and makeup artist
Image copyright Charlene Colechin
Image caption Charlene Colechin has been in hospital for a month

Speaking from hospital, Miss Colechin said she felt lucky to be alive.

“I was screaming because I was in that much pain,” she said.

“I kept throwing up, then I had a really bad headache like a migraine, and all my body was aching.”

How meningitis is spread

Image copyright Charlene Colechin

Meningitis is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection.

Bacterial meningitis is rarer but more serious than viral meningitis.

Infections that cause meningitis can be spread through:

  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • kissing
  • sharing utensils, cutlery and toothbrushes

Meningitis is usually caught from people who carry these viruses or bacteria in their nose or throat but aren’t ill themselves.

It can also be caught from someone with meningitis, but this is less common.

Source: NHS Choices

Image copyright Charlene Colechin
Image caption Charlene Colechin was treated at Chesterfield Hospital before being transferred to Sheffield

Paramedics were called out on 6 September but thought she had flu because she did not have any marks.

However, her condition worsened and marks appeared the following day, when paramedics rushed her to hospital.

“Within minutes I was on a drip in the ambulance on the way to Chesterfield Hospital,” she said.

“I was in a coma for nine days because all my organs were failing.

“I did die but obviously they brought me back.”

Image copyright Charlene Colechin
Image caption The teenager faces surgery to remove her toes and possibly her feet

She is now waiting for tests to see what parts of her feet will need to be amputated.

“My heels are black,” she said. “That could mean dead tissue, which could be infected and which could go up my legs.”

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

Image copyright Charlene Colechin
Image caption She said her heels are black, which could mean the tissue is dead

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