A 19-year-old student who put himself to bed with a cold, woke up the next day to find he had lost the power in his legs and by the end of the day, he had lost all movement from the neck down.

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Alistair Summers, third from left, with friends

A 19-year-old university student who put himself to bed with a cold, woke up the next day to find he had lost the power in his legs and by the end of the day, he had lost all movement from the neck down.

The Daily Mail website in Britain reports that Alistair Summers was then taken to hospital by his worried housemates took him to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a rare nerve condition.

The website said Alistair was now recovering after being diagnosed with Guillian-Barre Syndrome, a rare disorder in which the nerves in the arms and legs become inflamed and stop working. He was admitted to hospital in mid-October and was told he might have to stay in hospital for two weeks.

Instead, he has now been in hospital for three months and is still being rehabilitated. He does not know if he will make a full recovery.

Alistair, who had been studying Spanish and business at the University of Hull, said: "It started out as a bad cold and then I was paralysed - it was a bit of a bad deal really.

"I just thought I was a bit tired. I went to bed and the next morning when I woke up, I collapsed on the floor - my legs weren't working.

"My friends took me to hospital and the doctors diagnosed me almost straight away.

"They said I'd probably be in for two weeks, which I didn't think was too bad.

What I didn't realise then was how serious the condition was and that I would be totally paralysed."

At first, Alistair could not walk or talk and communicated mainly through facial expressions and making clicking noises to get attention.