Family share photographs of their four-year-old daughter fighting for her life after she was struck down by meningitis

Millie Dawson's parents have shared her story to raise awareness of the disease.

Parents Tim and Louise Dawson from Huddersfield have shared the heartbreaking photographs of their daughter wired up to a tangle of monitors of tubes and drips in a bid to raise awareness of how suddenly the potentially-fatal disease can take hold.  Hours after she was dropped off at school feeling 'full of life', Millie was on life-support in hospital. As Millie continued to battle the brain infection in hospital, posted photos on Facebook. Mrs Dawson said her daughter was 'fine' last Tuesday morning but 'became very tired very quickly' and 'had lost her colour and was shaking'. 'When she was taken to the doctors at midday she already had a temperature of 40.3°C,' she said. But despite her symptoms, the GP diagnosed Millie with a virus and prescribed her Calpol. The schoolgirl's condition continued to rapidly deteriorate. 'She became less and less responsive,' Mrs Dawson said. 'By 5.30pm she was barely able to move by herself. She was limp, floppy and lethargic and it was difficult to get a response out of her. 'It is terrifying to see your child like that.' It was only when Millie was taken to Huddersfield A&E that the first spots - one of the most recognisable symptoms of meningitis - were discovered.
Mr Dawson said the spots looked more like a bruise than a rash, which is commonly identified as one of the symptoms. He urged parents to follow their gut instinct and not wait for the spots to appear before seeking urgent medical attention. He said: 'The spots are often the last thing to appear, not the first and they don't appear in all cases. The best thing to look for is not the rash but whether your child is floppy or unresponsive.' Millie was treated with antibiotics at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary before being transferred to the paediatric unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax. But medics realised her condition was not improving as it should and Millie was moved to the Intensive Care Unit of Royal Manchester Children's Hospital - by Sheffield NHS Trust's specialist Embrace transport team for children - to receive more specialist treatment. After a week of treatment, Millie was allowed home to Dalton, West Yorkshire, to continue her recovery. Mrs Dawson said: 'It's been a very tough week being told your child may not make it and that they are the sickest child in the hospital.' Her husband added there was a 'huge feeling of relief' but that she has a 'long way to go'. Mr Dawson added: ''Our advice is to watch out for the warning signs, such as them being unresponsive. If in doubt take your child to hospital. 'Everyone knows their own child and can tell whether it is a minor sickness or something more serious.' Watch the Signs and Symptoms of Meningitis clip here. 
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