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Children's health

02nd Sep 2023

Mum issues warning to parents after her son is rushed to hospital with sepsis and meningitis

Kat O'Connor

A mum has issued a stark warning to other parents after her son was hospitalised with meningitis and sepsis.

Mum Caroline Gee was having a normal day at home with her family when her son Alfie suddenly fell ill.

She explained that he was perfectly fine hours before he was rushed to hospital.

The mum told Mini First Aid that she woke up from a nap with her baby boy in November 2021 and her little boy was burning up. She said neither of her children has ever had a temperature quite like it.

Caroline said he then started making ‘grunting’ noises.

She told Mini First Aid: “Alfie’s breathing was rapid and he then started making grunting noises – I was unfortunately not aware these were signs of sepsis at the time.”

Alfie was rushed to hospital where doctors ran multiple tests and scans. He was later transferred to a hospital in Edinburgh after his health deteriorated.

His mum explained that Alfie was eventually diagnosed with meningitis as well as sepsis.

She said: “We found out later that Alfie had E-Coli meningitis that was caused by an infection that originated in his bladder/ureters and was confirmed by a lumbar puncture – this failed 4 times, hence the delay in diagnosis.”

Caroline is urging other parents to beware of all symptoms associated with sepsis and meningitis. She explained that acting quickly saved her son’s life, but knowing the symptoms is essential.

“I acted quickly and the outcome was positive but speed is absolutely essential, so understanding meningitis and sepsis and spotting the signs is crucial.”

The symptoms of sepsis

Parents should seek medical help if their child:

  • has blue, pale, or blotchy skin, lips, or tongue
  • has a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, in the same way you check for meningitis
  • is being very sluggish, unusually sleepy, and hard to wake
  • feels unusually cold to touch
  • has had no pee or wet nappies for more than 12 hours
  • is breathing very fast
  • suffers fits or convulsions
  • has a weak, high-pitched cry that’s not like their normal cry
  • has an infection, is still unwell after 24 hours, or is getting worse – it may be sepsis

The symptoms of meningitis

Parents should seek medical help if their child has:

  • a high temperature of 38°C or higher
  • cold hands and feet and is shivering.
  • dislike bright lights
  • squint or cover their eyes when exposed to light
  • headache and neck stiffness
  • if they have pain or body stiffness like aches, pains, or muscle pains
  • if they have a stiff body with jerking movements or a floppy lifeless body.
  • vomiting or refusing to feed
  • feeling confused, tired, or irritable
  • if they’re irritable when you pick them up or have a high-pitched or moaning cry.
  • if their skin is pale or bluish
  • unusual breathing
  • if they have a tense or bulging soft spot on their head – the soft spot on their head is called the anterior fontanelle.
  • suffer a seizure
  • if they have a rash that doesn’t fade when you press a glass tumbler against it