A seven-year-old started fitting and had to be rushed to hospital after becoming infected with life-threatening Aussie flu that was dismissed as tonsillitis.
Georgia Puckering, 25, took her son, Harlee Fox, to the doctors last Friday morning where he was prescribed antibiotics after acting ‘unusually still’.
Miss Puckering said: ‘He is always out playing football or bouncing around the garden, so I was getting really worried that he didn’t want to move.’
Just two hours after leaving the doctors, Harlee starting convulsing, with his mother-of-three Miss Puckering, from Hessle, Yorkshire, saying: ‘Harlee said he felt sick so he stood up, but he started hallucinating saying the couch kept moving away from him. Then he just collapsed and started fitting.’
After being treated for dehydration and given appropriate medication in hospital, Harlee is at home but still suffering from a high temperature.
Miss Puckering claims she is lodging a formal complaint with NHS England regarding Harlee’s incorrect diagnosis and prescription. She said: ‘We were told by the paramedics he should never have been allowed to leave the doctors in the state he was in.’
As many as 9.75 million people – 15 per cent of the population – are believed to have been hit by Aussie flu symptoms in the UK over the past few weeks.
During this time at least 4,500 people were in hospital with the condition, with around 149 deaths across the UK.
Harlee Fox started fitting and had to be rushed to hospital after becoming infected with life-threatening Aussie flu that was dismissed by doctors as a chest infection
His mother Georgia Puckering (pictured with her other two children) claims just two hours after they came home from the doctors Harlee started hallucinating the sofa was moving
WHAT FLU STRAINS ARE IN THE UK IN 2018?
There are many different types of flu circulating around the world, but four main types are being seen in Britain this winter.
H3N2 – Dubbed ‘Aussie flu’ after it struck Australia hard last winter, this strain is more likely to affect the elderly, who do not respond well to the current vaccine. This is one of the most common strains seen so far this winter, with at least 63 confirmed cases seen in official laboratories.
H1N1 – This strain – known as ‘swine flu’ – is generally more likely to hit children, who respond well to vaccination. This has been seen nearly as often as H3N2 so far this year, with at least 50 cases confirmed in labs. In the past it was commonly caught from pigs, but that changed in 2009 when it started spreading rapidly among humans in a major global pandemic.
B / Yamagata – This is known as ‘Japanese flu’. Only people who received the ‘four strain’ vaccine – which is being slowly rolled out after it was introduced for the first time last winter – are protected against the Yamagata strain. Those who received the normal ‘three strain’ vaccine are not protected. This strain has been seen in at least 63 lab cases so far this winter.
B / Victoria – This strain is vaccinated against in the normal ‘three strain’ vaccine, but has hardly appeared so far this winter, with just around four confirmed cases.
‘He started hallucinating the couch kept moving away from him’
Describing Harlee’s convulsions, Miss Puckering said: ‘It was really horrible. My other children were watching as well and they didn’t know what was happening.
‘Harlee said he felt sick so he stood up, but he started hallucinating saying the couch kept moving away from him. Then he just collapsed and started fitting.
‘I rang 111 and they sent an ambulance straight away.’
Temperature soared to 40C
Harlee spent the night in Hull Royal Infirmary where his condition was closely watched.
After being given the correct medication and treatment for dehydration, he was sent home the next day.
Miss Puckering said: ‘When they took his temperature at hospital it had soared to 40C but they managed to bring it down to normal.
‘He still has a high temperature, but Harlee being Harlee, he just wants to get straight back to school and see all of his friends.’
‘Within two hours of getting home he had the fit’
Harlee initially suffered headache and nausea, and was kept off school for several days.
Miss Puckering said: ‘He is always out playing football or bouncing around the garden, so I was getting really worried that he didn’t want to move.
‘When I got to the doctors it wasn’t our usual one, but she took a urine sample and said his chest was clear, but she would treat him for a chest infection.
‘Within two hours of getting home he had the fit and was rushed Hull Royal, where they found the antibiotics prescribed were actually for tonsillitis and he had Aussie Flu.
‘We were told by the paramedics he should never have been allowed to leave the doctors in the state he was in.’
Where can YOU get the flu jab? How to get a vaccine in the UK in 2018
Flu can be a serious illness. If you become very ill with it, it can cause complications such as pneumonia, kidney failure and inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle.
People at most risk of serious illness or death if they get flu are offered the vaccine on the NHS. Ideally you should have this before the end of December, when flu peaks (it takes around two weeks after the jab for antibodies to develop completely).
At-risk groups include anyone aged 65 and over, people living in long-stay residential care homes, carers and pregnant women.
The vaccine is also offered to anyone aged six months to 65 years with certain conditions, such as diabetes.
It is available via your GP’s surgery.
All children aged two to 11 (on August 31, 2017) are also offered the vaccine as a nasal spray. The UK introduced the child vaccination programme in 2013. Last year, the vaccine had 66 per cent effectiveness. Australia does not have a similar programme.
If you do not qualify to have the jab on the NHS, you can pay to get it at a pharmacy.
Well Pharmacy charges £9 to £14 (depending on the number of strains in the vaccine), Superdrug from £9.99, Lloyds Pharmacy £10, Boots £12.99 and Tesco £9.
Older children who fall outside the NHS scheme can get the nasal spray vaccine from some pharmacies such as Well (£23 for those aged between two and 18; this may involve a second dose at least four weeks later for another £23) and the injection for those 12 and over for £9.
Boots offers the jab to those aged 16 and over at £12.99. Tesco offers it to those 12 and over at £9.