A baby who caught chicken pox from his brother nearly died after it led to a serious infection and sepsis.
Edward Foxall contracted the illness from his sibling, Alfie, three, just days after his first birthday in May.
But unlike Alfie, who was recovering quickly, Edward’s condition deteriorated when his breathing became short and his temperature soared.
He was rushed to hospital where chest x-rays revealed his right lung was filled with infected fluid due to pneumonia, which is a rare complication of chicken pox.
Sepsis followed, and parents Laura, 29, and Kieran, 28, feared he would never recover while they watched him fight for his life in intensive care.
But after a two-week stay in hospital and five weeks on antibiotics he’s finally home in Peterborough.
Edward Foxall, one, caught chicken pox from his six-year-old brother nearly died after it led to a serious infection and sepsis (pictured in intensive care)
Edward’s brother, Alfie, was recovering from chickenpox while his condition worsened
Edward, pictured with his mother, Laura Foxall, 29, (pictured) was rushed to hospital when his breathing became short and his temperature soared
Mrs Foxall and her husband, Kieran, 28, feared Edward wouldn’t recover while watching him fight for his life in intensive care. Pictured with Alfie
Mrs Foxall, who is raising awareness of the rare complication, said: ‘Edward got very low very quickly when he was ill.
‘The speed at which the infection took hold was terrifying.
‘When we were told that Edward would have to go to Addenbrooke’s for intensive care, I hit rock bottom. That was the lowest moment. I was really upset.
‘I genuinely wasn’t sure if he was going to come back.
HOW DID CHICKENPOX LEAD TO SEPSIS?
Chickenpox is a mild and common childhood illness that most children catch at some point and recover from without problems.
It causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blisters. They then crust over to form scabs, which eventually drop off.
Complications from chickenpox can occur, and those with a weakened immune system are most at risk.
Serious complications from chickenpox include bacterial infection in the lungs, called pneumonia, infections of the skin and soft tissues in children, including Group A streptococcal infections, infection or inflammation of the brain such as encephalitis, bleeding problems and dehydration.
Stroke is also reported as a ‘rare’ side effect of chickenpox.
Chickenpox can also cause death which is very rare especially now that there are vaccines.
Edward contracted a serious infection of the lungs called necrotising pneumonia, which is characterised by fluid and air filling the lung tissue, and in the worst case, tissue death.
Sepsis is the immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury. It almost always needs hospital treatment because it can cause organ failure and death.
‘We might have been telling a different story if he hadn’t been in hospital the night his lung filled with fluid and the infection really took hold.’
Edward caught chicken pox from his older brother on May 20.
Stay-at-home mother Mrs Foxall said: ‘When he first got chicken pox, I didn’t think anything much of it because Alfie’s had cleared up quite quickly.
‘I’d thought he’d pick them up from Alfie, but never imagined it would get bad.
‘Initially, me and Kieran didn’t think it wasn’t anything too serious. It was pretty much like a normal bout of chickenpox, to be honest.’
But on the second day, Edward appeared grumpy and couldn’t sleep, which was the first cause for concern because Edward is a ‘good sleeper’.
Mrs Foxall said: ‘After I gave him a bath on the third day, we had cuddles, and then I noticed that he was really tucking his tummy in to breath – which was because he was struggling to breath.
‘I called 111 straight away, and they came quite quickly.’
Doctors at Peterborough City Hospital did two chest x-rays which revealed he his right lung was filled with infected fluid.
Chickenpox is considered a mild illness, but there are some rare and serious complications, which include lung infections.
Doctors told Mr Foxall, an RAF chef, and Mrs Foxall that Edward had ‘most likely developed a serious bacterial infection and sepsis from the rapid onset of the infection’.
Stay-at-home mother Mrs Foxall thought Edward was having a ‘normal bout’ of chickenpox
On the second day of having chickenpox, Edward appeared grumpy and couldn’t sleep
By the third day, Edward had difficulty breathing and a high temperature, by which point his parents became concerned and rung 111. (Pictured, Edward at Addenbrooke’s Hospital)
Chest x-rays revealed Edward had lungs full of fluid caused by a lung infection
Edward was given assisted breathing with a tube and rushed to Addenbrooke’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (pictured) where they drained the fluid away
Edward was given assisted breathing with a tube and rushed to Addenbrooke’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where they drained the fluid away.
The infection was confirmed as necrotising pneumonia, a ‘flesh-eating’ complication of pneuonia itself, which destroys body tissue.
Mrs Foxall said: ‘The first chest x-ray didn’t show any signs of something more serious, but the doctor at hand wasn’t so sure so they advised us to stay overnight.
‘We had a second x-ray the following morning, and that’s when they told us that Edward had a serious bacterial infection, which turned out to be necrotising pneumonia.
‘They also told us the pneumonia had then led to sepsis.’
Edward, pictured with his father in hospital, was left with sepsis caused by the lung infection
Mrs Foxall said: ‘The speed at which the infection took hold was terrifying’. Edward pictured before he caught chickenpox around his first birthday
Edward is back home in Peterborough. Pictured in hospital while recovering
Sepsis is the immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury, and almost always needs rapid treatment in hospital.
To kill the infection and save his life, the baby boy was put on three types of IV antibiotics, one type of IV anti-viral medication, and had a feeding tube.
He spent a total of five days in intensive care, two-and-a-half weeks in hospital, and five weeks on antibiotics.
Now, Edward is making a fast recovery, and is back playing with his older brother Alfie.
Mrs Foxall said: ‘Alfie absolutely adores him, and can tell that Edward’s better. Edward had had a cold before, but he’d never been really ill with anything.
‘Luckily, he has a strong constitution and is doing well.
‘He’s eating properly again, and is sleeping. He’s quite an independent, happy baby. His weight is slowly getting back to normal and he’s getting his strength back.
‘He’s been incredibly lucky, and we were incredibly lucky that staff all the way through recognised there was something more serious going on.’