Joe Swash health: TV personality reveals deadly health scare – signs and symptoms

Joe Swash is best known for being part of the presenting team on the spin-off series I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, NOW!, which he announced back in July that he was quitting. The cheeky chappy has also courted headlines for his relationship with Stacey Solomon, 30. His brand of upbeat energy has made him a fan-favourite over the years but the star also had a sobering setback in 2005.

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The star was rushed to hospital following a health scare after his health rapidly deteriorated.

It was revealed the actor had been struck down with meningitis, an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges), according to the NHS.

Meningitis is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection, although bacterial meningitis is rarer but more serious than viral meningitis, says the health body.

How is spread?

Meningitis is usually caught from people who carry these viruses or bacteria in their nose or throat but are not ill themselves, although it can also be caught from someone with meningitis, but this is less common, notes the NHS.

Infections that cause meningitis can be spread through:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Kissing
  • Sharing utensils, cutlery and toothbrushes

Speaking to the News of the World at the time, Joe opened up about the impact the infection had had on him: “I was certain I’d die. I knew something was wrong and it could kill me.”

The star also revealed the symptoms he experienced: “I was sure I’d suffered a stroke because my body was numb. Then the headaches started and I thought it was something much worse. I’ve never felt pain like it.

He continued: “I couldn’t feel the left side of my body. It was numb. I tried wiggling my toes and my legs. My arm felt like it was sagging, almost hanging off my body. Then I tried to move my mouth and felt sheer terror come over me – I couldn’t move my lips.

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Joe’s initially feared he was having a stroke because the condition caused numbness, and this was accompanied by a sinking feeling that he would never work again.

According to the NHS, symptoms of meningitis can appear in any order. Some may not appear at all.

In the early stages, there may not be a rash or the rash may fade on pressure, explains the health body.

You may also experience a rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it, but this will not always develop.

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“You should get medical help immediately if you’re concerned about yourself or your child,” warned the health site.

What are the key warning signs?

Symptoms of meningitis, septicaemia and meningococcal disease include:

  • A high temperature
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Breathing quickly
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Pale, mottled or blotchy skin
  • Spots or a rash
  • Headache
  • A stiff neck
  • A dislike of bright lights
  • Being very sleepy or difficult to wake
  • Fits (seizures)

Someone with meningitis, septicaemia or meningococcal disease can get a lot worse very quickly so seek medical help immediately, warns the NHS.

How to Treat meningitis

As in Joe’s case, people with suspected meningitis will usually have tests in hospital to confirm the diagnosis and check whether the condition is the result of a viral or bacterial infection, explains the NHS.

Bacterial meningitis usually needs to be treated in hospital for at least a week, and treatments include:

  • Antibiotics given directly into a vein
  • Fluids given directly into a vein
  • Oxygen through a face mask

Viral meningitis tends to get better on its own within seven to ten days and can often be treated at home, but getting plenty of rest and taking painkillers and anti-sickness medication can help relieve the symptoms in the meantime, notes the health side.

Although most people who treated quickly make a full recovery, in some cases, people may develop serious long-term problems.

According to the NHS, these can include:

  • Hearing loss or vision loss, which may be partial or total
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Recurrent seizures (epilepsy)
  • Coordination, movement and balance problems
  • Loss of limbs – amputation of affected limbs is sometimes necessary

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