Kate Garraway, 52, has steadily risen up the journalistic ranks since joining the South edition of ITV News Central on ITV Central as a production journalist, reporter and news presenter in 1994. As the current co-anchor on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, waking up to Kate’s sparky personality is a part of many people’s daily routine. Last month, however, the presenter wasn’t feeling her normal bubbly self, which raised alarm bells.
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After experiencing a wave of unsettling symptoms, the ITV presenter was rushed to hospital, with doctors worryinh about her health and immediately placing her on a drip.
Speaking to Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard on her return, she explained: “I came in Friday before last and I couldn’t look at the lights and I had a temperature over 40.
“I said, ‘I’ll be fine,’ but the director said, ‘Even you can’t make this funny, Kate, there is no way you can do the show, we can’t turn the lights off’.”
Doctors initially thought Kate had been struck down with meningitis, luckily, this wasn’t the case, and she was given a course of treatment to sort her out.
According to the NHS, meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges).
It can affect anyone, but is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults.
Meningitis requires an immediate response as it can be serious if not treated quickly, and can cause life-threatening blood poisoning (septicaemia) and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.
This is why, as in Kate’s case, it’s so important to get medical help as soon as possible if you think you or your child has symptoms of meningitis, and why meningitis vaccinations are offered to certain groups, says the NHS.
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It’s estimated up to one person in every two or three who survives bacterial meningitis is left with one or more permanent problems, warns the health site.
Recognising the warning signs is therefore essential, and these include:
- A high temperature
- Cold hands and feet
- Breathing quickly
- Muscle and joint pain
- Pale, mottled or blotchy skin
- Spots or a rash
- A stiff neck
- A dislike of bright lights
- Being very sleepy or difficult to wake
- Fits (seizures)
Symptoms of meningitis can appear in any order, explains the NHS, and some may not appear at all.
In the early stages, there may not be a rash or the rash may fade on pressure, so trust your instincts and do not wait until a rash develops, cautions the health site.
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How to treat meningitis
The response to Kate’s symptoms is typical of the treatment procedure, with people with suspected meningitis usually taken to hospital to have tests and may need to stay in hospital for treatment.
These tests may include:
- A physical examination to look for symptoms of meningitis
- A blood test to check for bacteria or viruses
- A lumbar puncture – where a sample of fluid is taken from the spine and checked for bacteria or viruses
- A CT scan to check for any problems with the brain, such as swelling
As bacterial meningitis can be very serious, treatment with antibiotics will usually start before the diagnosis is confirmed and will be stopped later on if tests show the condition is being caused by a virus, explains the NHS.
People with meningitis may need to stay in hospital for a few days, and in certain cases treatment may be needed for several weeks.
Kate divulged she was due to be at the North London Health Awards that night, but was unable to attend as doctors wouldn’t discharge her from treatment.
She added doctors joked they could wheel her from the ward, but then looked at her notes and said: “No you are way too ill.”
Speaking to Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard on her return, she praised the hospital staff for the way they took care of her: “Can I just say The Wittington Hospital, can I tell you how brilliant they were, they saw me straight away and got me on a drip.”
While the presenter didn’t reveal exactly what was wrong, she later hinted it was a ‘virus’.
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