A HUDDERSFIELD boy is battling against meningitis.
Nine-year-old Jack Midwood is in hospital with what is believed to be meningococcal septicaemia - the deadliest form of the disease.
But the youngster, who fell ill on Tuesday night - hours after returning from a family holiday - is showing signs of recovery.
His family from Honley are at his bedside in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, where Jack is on an intravenous drip, feeding him vital antibiotics.
Mum Michelle, dad Chris and sister Hayley, 15, have all been given antibiotics to protect them.
Today Mrs Midwood, 37, remained at the hospital where Jack was said to be "improving". And she relived the nightmare that every parent dreads.
The family returned to their home in Jagger Lane early on Monday after a holiday in Tenerife.
Mrs Midwood, a former pupil at Holmfirth High School, said: "Jack went back to his class at Honley Junior School on Tuesday but when he came home he said he was tired.
"He went out to help Hayley on her Weekly News round but said his arms ached and he felt sick. I thought he was still tired from the flight but later that evening, he was very sick. He is not a sickly child normally so we were worried but meningitis never occurred to me.
"Early on Wednesday he was even worse and I rang the NHS Direct Helpline. All Jack wanted to do was lay on the settee, where he was sick again. The woman on the helpline said it was important to keep him awake but he was very drowsy and sick again, so she sent for an ambulance.
"It was only on the way to the Royal Infirmary that one of the ambulance crew noticed spots on his neck.
"When we got to the hospital someone came out to the ambulance with a glass and did a test. The spots, which were by then all over him, did not fade.
"They rushed him through into a ward and immediately started taking blood samples and getting antibiotics into him.
"The doctor said he believed we had caught it just in time."
Jack's condition deteriorated yesterday, when his temperature reached 41.3ºC, but overnight he improved greatly.
He is expected to remain in hospital for several days as doctors complete more tests.
Mr Midwood, a 39-year-old driver, and his wife have taken turns to stay with their son.
And he was cheered up last night when a card arrived from his friends in Class 4J at Honley Junior School.
Mrs Midwood said: "It has been very frightening but hopefully Jack is on the mend."
* High temperature, possibly fever
* Severe headache
* Neck stiffness
* Joint or muscle pain
* Confusion or disorientation
* A rash, which will appear as clusters of spots. A simple test is to press a glass against the rash: the spots will not fade.
WHAT TO DO
* If someone is ill and you suspect meningitis contact a doctor immediately
* Describe the symptoms carefully and mention you think it could be meningitis
* If a doctor is not available go straight to hospital
* If it is meningitis early treatment by antibiotics is vital
* Do not wait for a rash - it may be the last symptom to appear