A mother from Walsall, England, has posted online alarming photos of her sick baby.
Her 16-week-old son, Ashley-Jay Greatorex, was rushed to the hospital on March 6 with a high temperature and a rash, reports the Daily Mail. Tests revealed that the child had both meningitis and septicaemia, and his mother, Annabella Hanslow, was told to "prepare for the worst."
As explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. This inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is usually caused by bacteria or viruses, but can be a result of injury, cancer, or certain drugs."
The baby remains in the hospital, where he is reportedly doing "very, very poorly," and is being given antibiotics.
His mother shared photos of Ashley-Jay on social media, showing how the rash had quickly spread across his entire body. Her reason for posting the photos, she says, is to raise awareness and urge other parents to beware of any suspicious rash or symptoms.
"The glass test failed for us," she wrote on Facebook, referring to a simple skin test for the presence of meningitis and septicaemia.
"He's been through so much torture to get the answer we need. It isn't fair at all. Staring into his eyes...his eyes are asking for help and I can't give it him. I feel awful. Trust your instinct don't let others tell you different."
She initially gave Ashley-Jay Calpol -- an over-the-counter pain reliever -- after he first showed signs of a high temperature. It succeeded in bringing his temperature down, but he remained ill the next day.
When red dots began appearing on his skin, she took him to see his general practitioner, who immediately sent him to the hospital, where he was put on an antibiotic drip.
She wrote an update posted to Facebook on March 13:
Doctors came round this morning giving Ashley a break. He's having bloods done tonight. His fluid intake on the drip has been reduced. He looks like he's okay. He's looking at you more then he usually does and being more alert. Which is all great signs but he is still very very poorly. The infection level is at 233 when they last checked…we will find out tomorrow what it is now. Cross fingers it comes down. But the medicines haven't changed yet. But today Is a good day and thank you all who are sending there loves and thoughts and prayers it means the world.