WHEN Hannah Fields' five-year-old son fell ill with a high temperature and a sore throat – little did she know he'd be fighting for his life days later.
The young mum, 26, had been told by her local GP that little Harry just had tonsillitis and to expect it to clear up in a few days.
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However, days later, Harry, from Leeds, West Yorks., was left on the brink of death and was diagnosed with the new inflammatory syndrome linked to coronavirus.
The condition is similar to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) and Kawasaki disease, a disorder that causes inflammation to the heart.
Harry's parents were forced to watch as doctors hooked their little boy up to drips and took numerous blood tests in a desperate bid to keep him alive.
Thankfully, Harry is now recovering from the mysterious illness, which has left countless kids across the globe needing intensive care amid the coronavirus pandemic.
What we went through was absolutely terrifying
His mum Hannah, who works as a mobile hairdresser, is now sharing his terrifying ordeal in a bid to raise awareness for the new condition, which has affected about 100 children in Britain.
"What we went through was absolutely terrifying and if talking about it can help anyone else then that's what I want to do," Hannah said.
"If Harry had been left untreated any longer the outcome could have been very different, we were very lucky.
"I just want to make more people aware of the dangers, as I don't think they know enough about how this virus can affect children."
Hannah's nightmare began on April 24 when Harry developed a high temperature and a sore throat as well as having a lack of energy and a loss of appetite.
Concerned, his mum Hannah phoned their local GP who diagnosed the schoolboy with tonsillitis and prescribed antibiotics.
However, just one week later, on April 30, Harry's condition dramatically deteriorated.
His temperature shot up beyond 40 degrees and he could barely stand up due to crippling stomach pain and hallucinations.
Crippling stomach pain
Harry's dad Luke, 27, rang 999 and the couple were advised to take their little boy to hospital.
On arrival at at Leeds General Infirmary, the youngster was placed on a Covid-19 ward.
Doctor's measured Harry's heart rate, which should be between 90 and 110bpm – but it had surged to 169bpm – and blood tests showed inflammation in Harry's heart, kidney and bowels.
He was twice tested for coronavirus – but the results came back negative.
However, the doctors told Hannah her son had likely had the disease some weeks earlier but since recovered.
We were both in this room surrounded by people in PPE with visors over their faces, it was really scary
Hannah said: "We were both in this room surrounded by people in PPE with visors over their faces, it was really scary."
Harry went on to have ECGs, heart scans, chest x-rays and a a number of blood tests.
He was eventually diagnosed with 'variant multi system vascular inflammatory response', which is suspected to have come in the aftermath of contracting coronavirus.
According to experts the symptoms appear similar to Kawasaki disease, a potentially fatal syndrome that affects the blood vessels.
What are the symptoms of new Covid-linked 'Kawasaki-like disease'?
Health chiefs said in an alert to GPs the signs include:
- Stomach pain
- Gastrointestinal symptoms – like vomiting and diarrhoea
The mysterious condition has been compared to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) and Kawasaki disease.
The signs of TSS are:
- High temperature
- Flu-like symptoms, like headache, feeling cold, aches, sore throat and cough
- Feeling and being sick
- Widespread burn-like rash
- Lips, tongue, and whites of the eyes turning bright red
- Dizziness or fainting
- Difficulty breathing
Signs of Kawasaki disease include:
- A rash
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Dry, cracked lips
- Red fingers or toes
- Red eyes
Harry was given steroids, antibiotics and fluids through a drip over the next five days.
He has now returned home, to recover with his parents and one-year-old brother George but is still receiving treatment with aspirin and regular heart echos and ECGs.
Hannah said: "He was one very poorly five-year-old boy but is thankfully now making a good recovery.
"Hopefully people can learn more about this disease and spot the signs as early as possible."
About 100 children in Britain have been treated for the disease, which causes persistent fever, skin rashes, abdominal pain and cold hands or feet.
Multi-system inflammatory state
The new syndrome emerged last month, with UK health officials warning of "a multi-system inflammatory state, requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the UK".
The Paediatric Intensive Care Society issued the alert to the NHS, telling GPs: "There is growing concern that a [Covid-19] related inflammatory syndrome is emerging.
"Please refer children presenting with these symptoms as a matter of urgency."
Some, but not all kids with signs of this new condition have tested positive for coronavirus.
But, it’s not yet clear if there is a direct link with Covid-19.
Public Health England are investigating, as NHS England’s medical director Prof Stephen Powis said: “It is really too early to say whether there is a link.”
England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty added: “This is a very rare situation, but I think it is entirely plausible that it is caused by this virus, at least in some cases.
"We know that in adults who of course have much more disease than children do, big problems are caused by an inflammatory process."
I think it is entirely plausible that it is caused by this virus
Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and clinical director of Patientaccess.com, told The Sun children can end up needing treatment in intensive care, and the illness could prove fatal in severe cases.
It’s been likened to Kawasaki disease, which cause inflammation to the heart and can lead to aneurysms, heart attack and heart disease.
In rare cases patients with Kawasaki disease can suffer internal bleeding if an aneurysm bursts.
Around 25 per cent of cases go on to experience heart complications, which can result in fatality in about two to three per cent of cases, if not treated.
If you are worried your child could be suffering from the symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice, as soon as possible.
Contact your GP or call NHS 111.
Dr Jarvis told The Sun: "The NHS is very much open for business.
"If you have a child who is seriously unwell, you should call an ambulance – your child is much better off in hospital if they’re seriously unwell."
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