“Karim was 10 months previous when he caught the hen pox virus. At first it was just some spots on his tummy, but it surely quickly unfold to a rash that took over his complete physique; his head, his face, even his eyelids. I rushed him to the physician, who confirmed it was a nasty case of hen pox, however stated there wasn’t lots that may very well be performed apart from to attend for it to get higher and deal with the fever with ache killers and the itching with lotions. I felt so helpless not with the ability to do something to assist my little boy. With hindsight I now know that the physician may have prescribed him an antiviral medication, however sadly he wasn’t given any. [See fact-box beneath for info on remedies for hen pox]
“That evening Karim wakened screaming in ache. His fever was 40 levels and the pain-relief medicine was doing nothing to assist. I held him shut and simply lay there on the ground with him all evening, making an attempt to ease his struggling. Finally I took him to the hospital once more, however the physician insisted there was nothing uncommon: “It’s simply hen pox,” he stated, and advised us to go house.
“Now this was one of many best-known and best-regarded hospitals in Dubai so I knew I ought to hearken to the physician, however I had a intestine feeling that one thing was actually improper. I begged them to maintain him in for an evening no less than, as he wanted plenty of fluids to fight his fever and he wasn’t accepting any. Fortunately they agreed.
“Two weeks later and Karim was nonetheless within the hospital. Since they admitted him he’d had a continuing fever and didn’t appear to be getting any higher; each time his temperature reached 41.5 levels the nurses would give him painkillers and antihistamines. They have been managing his signs, however there was no try and deal with the foundation explanation for it.
“The nights have been the worst. It wasn’t simply that the fever would spike, however the quantity of ache he was in was indescribable. He would scream in agony till the painkillers kicked in. Day after day the scenario gave the impression to be getting worse and we didn’t know what to do, we thought it simply wanted time, however time wasn’t therapeutic him. I used to be torn between being with Karim and taking care of his youthful brother; my husband and I’d take day and evening shifts. I’d go house on the finish of the evening to organize his brother’s lunch, permit myself to cry, drop the baby to nursery after which head again to the hospital for my ‘day shift’ with Karim.
The toughest half was coming house at evening. The home was so quiet, and but deafening within the absence of Karim
– Dina Assad
“I would appear to listen to Karim throughout the home, his voice and his laughter, his screams and his cries. I additionally missed spending time along with his brother terribly and felt so responsible for not with the ability to be round for him. We have been in Dubai throughout the summer time with no household round however with a couple of good mates who supported us until the top.
‘What I noticed made my legs tremble’
“One morning after I went to the hospital I discovered Karim asleep. This wasn’t uncommon so I simply waited for him to get up, however hours handed and he was nonetheless sleeping. The physician stated it was regular as they have been giving his antihistamines so he may chill out and never scratch himself. When he lastly did get up he wasn’t himself; he was drowsy, simply eager to sleep extra, he wouldn’t work together or eat or drink something. It was at this level that I felt I needed to do one thing. My intuition was telling me one thing was improper. I assumed that possibly if I gave him a heat bathe he would possibly revive and get up. I eliminated the bandages that they had wrapped round his physique to stop him from scratching and what I noticed made my legs tremble.
“His complete physique was crimson and swollen. His palms, abdomen and ft appeared as if he had a small balloon underneath the pores and skin. I attempted to make him rise up however his legs have been like jelly – he had misplaced sensation in each ft and all of the pores and skin in between his toes appeared as if it had been burnt.
I put him again into mattress with my coronary heart racing. I used to be on the verge of getting a panic assault, however I assumed ‘I should be sturdy, I should be there for him, there’s nobody else to be there for him however me’. I alerted all of the docs and so they ran biopsies, MRIs, mind scans, coronary heart scan, liver scan, and infinite blood exams.
“When the outcomes got here via the subsequent day we discovered that Karim had septicemia, or sepsis, a life-threatening situation trigger by the physique’s immune system going into overdrive to struggle an an infection, decreasing blood provide and doubtlessly inflicting a number of organ failure. In Karim’s case the an infection was brought on by staph micro organism getting into his physique via the hen pox lesions. It was terrifying to me that if I hadn’t determined to take away all of the sheets wrapped round him and to wake him up, nobody would have had seen what was taking place.
If I hadn’t performed something, no-one would have seen what was taking place
– Dina Assad
“The An infection had began on his pores and skin, then unfold to his blood, after which to his bones and joints. It typically can attain the guts too, however luckily it hadn’t but in Karim’s case. It was unimaginable to me that on a regular basis Karim had been struggling in hospital, writhing in agony and burning up with fever, the micro organism had been rising and not one of the docs had seen or appeared to care.
“Our ordeal continued. The docs began a course of remedy for the micro organism and Karim needed to endure each day scans. I actually can’t describe how I feeling at the moment. I used to be heartbroken, torn, hopeless, and I had no concept what the long run had in retailer for us. I would go away the hospital to see his brother with tears in my eyes and prayers in my coronary heart, so many prayers. I needed to break down however I saved telling myself to be sturdy. I needed to have braveness to face the docs and ensure they have been giving Karim the eye he so desperately wanted.
A mom’s instinct
“In the future it occurred to me that, for the reason that an infection had made him numb from the hips down, may it’s that the micro organism had settled in his backbone? I’m no physician however this appeared to make sense to me, however after I recommended it to the medical workers they only ignored me. Karim was scheduled to have a full physique MRI to test which elements of his physique have been largely affected. The primary hour handed, then a second hour, and by the third hour I began to panic as I anxiously waited exterior the door for information. I used to be so nervous that I ended up urgent my ear on the door to seek out out if I may overhear what was taking place. The very last thing I heard was: ‘We’re sending the pictures to the radiology division urgently, please test what’s there on his backbone’.
I closed my eyes then and willed myself to remain calm, hoping that maybe I had misunderstood. Lastly the physician got here out and requested us to have seat. “Your son just isn’t effectively,” he stated. “I’m sorry. We don’t know if he’s going to make it. Should you can discharge him from the hospital and put him in one other one it could be greatest for him. The micro organism has unfold to his joints, palms, ft, abdomen and his backbone.”
After I heard ‘backbone’ I misplaced it. All I keep in mind is leaping out of my seat, shaking the physician, ripping off his tie and his ineffective robe. ‘It’s all of your fault,’ I screamed. ‘I used to be telling you all final week about his backbone and also you wouldn’t hear! You weren’t listening to me!’
That’s all I recall, shouting and dropping my mood. His reply was: ‘I’m so sorry ma’m however you already know you could possibly have misplaced your son.’
I had a complete breakdown and nothing would cease me from crying.
– Dina Assad
How may I’ve left my son with them? What had they performed to him? I so missed him and needed him again with us as a household; his brother missed him, his father missed him, the home, our souls missed him. How can the guts of a mom survive seeing her son in a scenario like this?
Flying to Lebanon
The subsequent day we discharged him from the hospital and flew to Lebanon our house nation the place the docs stated they have been capable of deal with him. I needed to carry him on my chest the entire flight as he was unable to maneuver from head to toe. My coronary heart was shattered to items as I additionally needed to go away my different son in Dubai along with his father since they have been unable to journey with me at the moment. We flew on an emergency foundation and went straight to the hospital the place the process was once more traumatizing: extra scans, blood exams, admissions and so forth.. I overheard the docs say, ‘he’s a fortunate boy to have had made it via’.
Karim stayed within the Lebanon hospital for 2 and a half months, lastly getting the correct remedy. It wasn’t simple, however no less than we knew deep down that there was hope and the medical workers would do something to rescue him. It wasn’t simple having to stay in a hospital for months, however I bought used to it.
As soon as we have been discharged Karim’s restoration interval was additionally robust. It took him some time to be taught to eat once more, stroll, transfer his joints, and adapt to the skin world. Each a part of his physique was deeply affected. It was nearly like he had been born once more and I needed to stroll with him step-by-step till he was on his ft once more. His remedy additionally continued after he was discharged from the hospital; he was on a number of totally different antibiotics per day, and I needed to give him injections thrice every week to strengthen his immunity and defend him from another an infection.
Now, two years later, Karim has stopped his treatment and we just go for checkups every now and then for the joints that are still a bit affected by the infection. For the most part he has now completely recovered and my heart couldn’t be any happier or more thankful. He’s a happy and healthy kid and has proved himself to be a total fighter and a warrior. He’s my superhero, my source of strength and happiness. He taught me that life changes to be harder sometimes, but what hurts you today makes you stronger tomorrow. He has given me so much wisdom throughout his unfortunate journey, I learnt a lot of things about life, people, love, pain, and most of all: prayers. Prayers do wonders.
“I wanted to share our story because sepsis only happens in 2% of chickenpox cases. It’s very rare, which means that even medical staff might not think of it. I think all mothers should also be aware that sepsis can arise not only from a complication associated with chicken pox, but if bacteria enters the body through any scratch, bite or cut. If not treated early it can sometimes silently lead to further infections. I also want to highlight the need to vaccinate against chicken pox. Karim wasn’t vaccinated as he was only 10 months and the chicken pox vaccine is due at 12 months, which was very unlucky. But most of all, I want to say to other mothers out there: always trust your instinct. When you feel that something is not going well, then it probably isn’t. I have heard the saying ‘A mother’s intuition is worth more than a medical degree,’ and , in our case, my intuition helped me save my son’s life.
I pray that no one else goes through half of what Karim has gone through. He might forget about it, but I never will. I still have flashbacks, every night they roll through my memory like a movie scene. May all our kids’ days be filled with lots of health , laughter and beautiful memories to cherish.”
NEED TO KNOW: SEPSIS
Saving lives depends on early recognition and awareness of sepsis, and a better understanding of sepsis as the final common pathway of illness due to infection is essential to drive improvement.
What causes Sepsis?
Sepsis is caused by an infection when microbes enter the body through a cut in the skin. Most types of microbes can cause sepsis, including bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Normally, when we suffer a minor cut, the area around the injury swells and becomes hot and red. This is the immune system in action. Sepsis is this process in overdrive: inflammation is no longer localized to the “cut”, but is now widespread affecting all of the body’s organs and tissues. The body´s defense and immune system go into overdrive, leading to widespread inflammation, poor perfusion, organ failure and septic shock.
What are the symptoms of Sepsis?
The diagnosis and treatment of sepsis often is delayed because early symptoms are not recognized by patients, health care workers and physicians. A common feature of patients with sepsis is that they feel sick as never before. In children the signs and symptoms may be subtle and deterioration rapid. The most common warning signs of developing sepsis are:
• Fever, chills
• Rapid or difficult breathing
• Elevated heart rate
• New confusion, disorientation or drowsiness
• Severe muscle and joint pains
• A sense of impending doom
• Skin Rash
• Poor feeding (infants and children)
SEPSIS AND CHICKEN POX
However, although it is important to be aware of sepsis as a possibility, if your child has chicken pox or another common childhood illness, it does not mean he or she will also get sepsis. We asked Dr Mudit Kumar, Consultant Paediatrician & Specialist Neonatologist at Mediclinic Welcare Hospital, about the relationship between sepsis, staph bacteria (which caused the sepsis Karim suffered from) and chicken pox:
“The most common complication of chickenpox in previously healthy children is bacterial infection and Staph bacteria is one of the most common as they can be normally present on the skin of children. Most of the time these infections are superficial, but there is a risk of the bacteria invading the bloodstream which is facilitated by disruption of the skin barrier and when these bacteria enter the blood stream it’s called septicaemia, or sepsis.”
What is the usual treatment of chicken pox? Is there anything that can reduce the likelihood or an infection?
Chickenpox is a self-limiting viral disease so usually no specific treatment is required, apart from the fever control and symptomatic treatment for cough and cold associated with it. For skin lesions nothing should be used in the initial stages when the lesions are still erupting apart from keeping the skin clean by regular baths, however when the blisters start to dry up and they become itchy then some moisturizing cream can be used.
There is a medication called acyclovir ( brand name: Zovirax) that can help shorten or combat the varicella infection if it is started within 24 hours after the rash develops. This medication is not necessary for everyone who develops chickenpox. However, it may be appropriate for people who are at risk of developing a more serious illness, such as:
• Children older than 12 who are unvaccinated
• Children of any age with chronic lung problems (such as cystic fibrosis) or chronic skin conditions (such as eczema or atopic dermatitis)
• Children of any age who must take steroid medications (also called glucocorticoids) or aspirin on an ongoing basis
• Children or adults with a weakened immune system, including transplant recipients and people with HIV
Acyclovir can be taken in oral form or as an injection. It is generally well tolerated but can cause stomach upset or headache. To reduce the risk of infection the most important preventive measure of course is the vaccination against chickenpox which is now done universally in most of the countries including UAE. The vaccine is given as an injection at 1 year and again at 4 years age of age.
High risk individuals who are exposed to the chickenpox can have varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG), which is given as an injection within 10 days (ideally within 4 days) of chicken pox exposure. This agent reduces complications and the mortality rate of varicella, not its incidence. High risk groups include:
• Immunocompromised children and adults
• Newborns of mothers with varicella shortly before or after delivery
• Premature infants
• Infants less than one year of age
• Adults without evidence of immunity
• Pregnant women
How common are serious infections of chicken pox?
After the introduction of vaccine, the number of complications in children dramatically declined, although the most common complication has remained bacterial superinfections. The common complications include skin and soft tissue infections (42 percent), dehydration (11 percent), and neurologic complications (9 percent)
What are the signs of a staph bacteria infection?
Staph bacteremia frequently occurs in association with fever and other symptoms related to the source of infection. Bacteremia – Also known as blood poisoning, bacteremia occurs when staph bacteria enter a person’s bloodstream. A fever and low blood pressure are signs of bacteremia. The bacteria can travel to locations deep within the body, to produce infections affecting Internal organs, such as brain, heart or lungs
How can you tell if chicken pox may have become infected and when should you start to worry?
Usually chickenpox lasts for two weeks. After being exposed to the chickenpox virus, you will begin to show symptoms about two weeks later. This period following exposure and preceding the onset of symptoms is called the incubation period. You can start spreading the virus during this period, starting two days before you show signs of a rash. You remain contagious until the last of the bumps have completely scabbed over. During this time, persons with chickenpox should avoid contact with others who might be susceptible. This may mean staying home, away from other children and adults.
With simple chickenpox there will be fever, some cold symptoms and rashes.
But if any of the signs and symptoms mentioned under septicaemia are noticed then you should be seen by the doctor immediately.
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This text was first printed in 2017