STANDISH, Mich. - Health experts say the 2018 school year is off to a bad start for viral meningitis.
Now one mid-Michigan mother is sharing her story in hopes of spreading awareness about the disease.
“He laid down in the bath tub and couldn’t get back out. It was kind’ve a red flag, you’re going to the hospital,” said Sutherland.
Standish resident Stephanie Sutherland described the moment she knew her child had a more serious illness than the typical sinus infection or migraine.
Her eight-year-old son got sick with viral meningitis on September 5th.
“It was scary, scariest thing I’ve dealt with. He had one of the more severe cases of it,” explained Sutherland.
Dr. Russell Bush works as Medical Director for Saginaw and Tuscola counties, which have had two reported cases of viral meningitis in schools in the past week.
He says viral meningitis can cause people to feel awful, but it is much less severe than the more dangerous bacterial meningitis.
“People can feel really crummy during the time it’s actively bothering them, but it usually gets better and generally leaves no lasting effect after a week to a week and a half,” said Dr. Bush.
Children under the age of five and those who have a weakened immune system are most at risk.
Frequent hand-washing is the best way to prevent illness.
Sutherland says people should watch their kids for the same symptoms her eight-year-old displayed less than a month ago.
“All those classic symptoms that you read online, the stiffness of the neck, throwing up, nauseous, headaches, the sensitivity, throwing up, all the classic signs of it,” said Sutherland.
One case was reported at Rittmueller Middle School in Frankenmuth,another case at Edgerton Elementary in Clio, and one at McComb Elementary in Caro.
The Caro Community Schools superintendent says they're taking extra steps to disinfect surfaces where the viral meningitis could spread, after a student caught the illness at McComb Elementary earlier this week.