‘Mummy, am I going to die?’ Mother reveals she was left terrified for her ‘perfectly healthy’ five-year-old son’s life after he was hospitalised with hallucinations, vomiting and a 42°C temperature due to coronavirus
- Laura Fulbrook, 30, from Worcestershire, horrified by son’s symptoms
- Revealed Alfie, 5, had temperature of 42C, suffered hallucinations and vomiting
- Lying in hospital the ‘perfectly healthy’ boy wondered if he was ‘going to die’
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
A mother has revealed how her ‘perfectly healthy’ five-year-old son was left wondering if he was ‘going to die’ after being hospitalised with coronavirus.
Lauren Fulbrook, 30, from Bromyard, Worcestershire, said her son Alfie’s health quickly declined when he developed symptoms including a temperature of more than 42C, hallucinations and vomiting.
Lauren said she feared for Alfie’s life as he was lying helplessly on a hospital bed and asked her: ‘Mummy, am I going to die?’
Calling it ‘the worst experience of my life’, she took to Facebook to warn other parents that even children without underlying health conditions can contract Covid-19.
Lauren Fulbrook, 30, from Worchestshire, revealed how her ‘perfectly healthy son’ Alfie, 5, was left wondering if he was going to die when he was struck down by coronavirus
Lauren said her son was ‘perfectly healthy’ before being struck down with the virus, and said she was determined to warn others of the danger (pictured with Alfie before his illness)
The mother detailed how Alfie deteriorated after he attended a swimming lesson last week.
She said: ‘He started off sounding husky last Monday and I put it down to swallowing too much chlorine from his swimming lesson that day.
‘Then he got a bark-like cough and it worsened throughout Tuesday, then his temperature suddenly kicked in Tuesday night and it shot straight to 38.4 so I had to keep him off school.’
‘Alfie kept saying he was okay and felt good – which he normally does. But come Thursday his temperature had hit 42.3 and I couldn’t get it down.
Lauren revealed how her son’s health quickly deteriorated after going for a swimming lesson last week (pictured with Lauren and his sister Esmae, 2)
She explained: ‘He wasn’t eating, hardly drinking and said he couldn’t move.’
‘So I rang 111 and they sent an ambulance out in the morning, but they said that the hospital was so busy they couldn’t take him in. They got his temperature down and said if it went back up or he got worse to ring 999.’
Describing the scary moment her little boy was rushed off in an ambulance on Thursday afternoon, Lauren continued: ‘Later that evening he was vomiting, hallucinating, crying, holding his head saying it felt like it was going to explode and his eyes were hurting, so the ambulance came out and said we had to go back in.’
Upon arriving at Worcester hospital, Lauren said they were given masks to wear and were rushed to an isolation room where Alfie was swabbed and tested for Covid-19.
Lauren’s son developed a husky throat on Monday night before he got a ‘bark-like cough’ and his temperature ‘kicked in’ on Tuesday night
She described the hospital as a ‘ghost town’ and said the medical staff were wearing protective gear and masks at all times.
As Lauren also suffered from a cough, she was allowed to stay by Alfie’s side after the paramedics and a nurse gave them a bed in the isolation unit following his positive coronavirus results.
She said: ‘They gave him medicine and they kept him stripped off and on fluids to bring his temperature down.
‘I couldn’t fault the hospital staff. They reassured me, kept me informed and asked if he wanted anything. They even brought me tea and coffee!’
Alfie, pictured with his sibling Esmae, was later rushed to hospital after he began vomiting and hallucinating while suffering from coronavirus
Alfie was rushed into hospital after his temperatures soared while he was suffering from coronavirus (pictured, with his sister Esmae)
After being kept overnight from Thursday until Friday evening, Lauren said the hospital allowed them to return home with strict isolation restrictions.
She said: ‘The hospital advised that as long as I could give Alfie medicine – I would be able to self-isolate us all at home.
‘He’s still recovering now after a week and a day.
Today is the first day he has asked for food and has been playing a little bit. He still has a cough and a slight temperature but he is getting better.’
Lauren’s little boy, who she said was ‘perfectly healthy’ before the outbreak, was left wondering if he was going to die during the terrifying experience
The mother-of-two wrote on Facebook in a post that’s been shared more than 51,000 times: ‘Coronavirus is NOT a joke.
‘Please stop brushing it under the carpet and putting not only your own lives at risk but everyone else’s just because you want to go to the pub, or to a restaurant or think you need 7 packs of 24 toilet rolls, as a Covid-19 positive household, I’ve seen the effects it has.
‘I’ve had to watch my 5-year-old son go from having all the energy in the world to not moving, not eating, hardly drinking or urinating.
‘His temperature wouldn’t go below the 40’s and at its highest was 42.3 which caused vomiting.’
Alfie was placed in an isolation unit at Worchester hospital after testing positive to the virus last week
She explained: ‘I watched him hallucinating and crying from his headache, being taken to hospital by ambulance to be put in isolation pods and be swabbed for the virus and confirmed positive.’
WHY ARE YOUNG PEOPLE AT RISK OF CATCHING THE VIRUS?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus, scientists have said.
Everyone, no matter what their age, health status or race, is at risk of catching the virus. Therefore young people – including children and babies – may catch the infection.
But there are some people who are more vulnerable to serious symptoms and even death. They are the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma and diabetes.
With a new virus such as that which causes COVID-19, nobody has the immune cells needed to fight it.
When the body is faced with a new infection, it builds an immune response that can be activated the next time they become infected.
But the body is not ready for the coronavirus, if it invades. This means anyone can get sick, even if they may appear healthy or go through every winter without being affected by flu or the common cold.
The World Health Organization advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene.
Lauren described it as the ‘worst experience of her life’ when Alfie first started to show symptoms.
Her post continued: ‘His blood sugar levels were only 3.7, his respiratory rate was 18-20 and his heart rate was 180, the sweat was pouring out of him but he was shivering, he was panting for breath and he had photophobia.’
Lauren ended her post with a defiant message directed to those who are ignoring government advice to stay at home during the global crisis.
She pleaded: ‘So please, just stay in for a little while, so what if you can’t do all your normal things, the sooner everybody does social distancing, the sooner it will be over.
‘I am not posting this for attention or sympathy, as I could have done that the day he got sick, I just want people to stay safe. Please think of your health and others.
After her post went viral, Lauren said: ‘I just wanted people to take it seriously, stop acting like it’s nothing and they won’t get affected, they might not, but they can pass it on to others.
‘I don’t have a choice but to power on, I have an 18-month-old daughter as well as Alfie and we are all ill now, just not to the extent that Alfie was.
‘It was truly one of the worst experiences of my life, hearing my son ask if he was going to die and seeing the genuine panic and upset in his eyes broke my heart.’
Lauren pleaded with those ignoring government guidelines to take the outbreak more seriously but thanked those who have helped her family after they returned home from hospital.
She said: ‘Since being home I can’t fault our family, friends and Alfie’s school for helping us out and making sure we have everything we need.’
Young children are NOT safe from coronavirus, doctors warn
Young children and babies are not safe from the coronavirus that has gripped the world with fear, doctors warned yesterday.
Experts say the highly contagious infection can still spread between children and youngsters – even though the elderly are most at risk.
And they warn the life-threatening illness may cause unusual symptoms in children, such as stomach aches. The tell-tale symptoms are a cough and fever.
A study in China, where the outbreak began in December, found that almost one in ten patients in the country were under the age of 30.
Even babies have been known to get the virus, which can kill people by causing pneumonia and putting stress on organs.
World Health Organization chiefs have said young people are ‘not invincible’ and could end up in hospital ‘for weeks’.
It comes after it was revealed yesterday that an 18-year-old coronavirus patient from England had become the UK’s youngest victim.
The teenager, one of the 281 deaths reported in the UK, had an underlying health condition – but officials refused to reveal what it was.
Elsewhere, a man in Atlanta revealed his 12-year-old cousin is fighting for her life on a ventilator after testing positive for COVID-19.
And a mother from Cardiff told of the ‘very distressing’ experience watching her six-month-old baby boy battle a fever after catching the virus from his father.
Medical experts have stressed that older people and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of falling seriously ill from the virus.
Their bodies are already weaker due to age or a impaired immune system, and therefore find it more difficult to fight off the virus.
But it doesn’t leave children and younger people free to continue their lives as normal, with experts constantly reminding them that they must comply with social distancing measures.
Scientists have suggested that children are just as likely as adults to become infected with the virus.
They are less likely to be develop symptoms which leave them very unwell – which was also true in the SARS and MERS epidemics.
This could be for a number of reasons, including that a child’s immune cells may be more active and resilient, compared to an adults more aged immune system which may not detect the virus as quickly.
There is evidence from China that the virus affects them differently, which may mean cases go undetected.
Young people could also be carriers of the disease without showing any signs, passing it to other people – potentially those at risk – without even knowing it.
Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: ‘It appears that children/ and young people probably catch the infection as much as adults, however they appear to much more frequently have no symptoms (asymptomatic) or very mild symptoms.’
It isn’t impossible for youngsters to become so unwell with COVID-19 that they are hospitalised, and the message has been made abundantly clear as the pandemic worsens.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on March 20: ‘Although older people are hardest hit, younger people are not spared.
‘Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization.
‘Today I have a message for young people: You are not invincible, this virus could put you in hospital for weeks or even kill you.
‘Even if you don’t get sick the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.’
Dr Petra Zimmerman, of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, summarised available evidence on coronavirus infections in children earlier this month.
Dr Zimmerman and colleagues said: ‘There is some suggestion that children are just as likely as adults to become infected with the virus but are less likely to be unwell or develop severe symptoms.
‘However, the importance of children in transmitting the virus remains uncertain.
‘Most infected children recover one to two weeks after the onset of symptoms.’
Children infected with COVID-19 had typically been in contact with someone else diagnosed in their home, the researchers report in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.
They may be more likely to develop gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhoea or a stomach ache.
Data from China, where most patient research into COVID-19 is emerging, suggests that as many as 10 per cent of patients are under the age of 30.
An analysis of 44,672 patients across the whole country showed that 1.2 per cent were aged 10-19 years old and 0.9 per cent were under the age of 10.
It may sound like a small proportion, but it equates to 549 10-19 year olds, and 416 under 10 year olds.
The February data, published in the journal JAMA, showed that children and adolescents accounted for two percent of hospitalisations. However there were no deaths.
Data for infections and deaths per age bracket is not available in the UK yet because the epidemic is still in its early days.
However the news that an 18-year-old from England had become one of the latest victims of the virus rocked the nation.
No details were given about the teenager who died at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire. But NHS England said all of the most recent deaths were people in vulnerable groups, including those with underlying conditions.
Professor Viner said: ‘The full circumstances of the death of the 18 year old are unknown but the hospital where he was treated has said that there were “significant underlying health issues”.
‘There was a reported death in China of a teenager… We’ve been told that there have been a very small number of deaths of children and young people in Italy (three to four deaths). We have been told that all of these were in children with pre-existing medical conditions.
‘We understand that a very small number of premature babies may also have died. We know little more about these cases but we understand the deaths of premature babies were probably related to prematurity.’
Adverse outcomes like preterm birth have been reported among babies born to mothers with COVID-19 but these have been in other countries and the details are not clear.
A small number of newborn babies have been diagnosed with coronavirus, including a baby in England, but it is not clear if they were infected by their mother while in the womb, during childbirth, or after.
Health officials stress that babies are at low risk of complications from the virus and most will have mild symptoms. The same goes for pregnant women, but they should take extra precaution just in case, the Government says.
Parents globally have been telling their own heartbreaking stories to serve as a warning to others.
Laura Pearson, from Cardiff, described the ‘very distressing’ 48 hours during which her six-month-old son Gruff started to fall ill with COVID-19.
Gruff developed a fever of 39 degrees as his parents franticly attempted to get him seen by a doctor.
Mrs Pearson, 35, said: ‘My other half started developing symptoms first, in the early hours on Wednesday morning – high temperature, chills, aches and a mild cough.’
On Thursday, Gruff himself began to show coronavirus symptoms of his own.
‘He developed an on-and-off dry cough, but then began feeling very hot,’ Mrs Pearson said.
‘I called our GP because I couldn’t get through on the NHS 111 helpline and we were told to to monitor his condition via the website whenshouldiworry.com, which was set up by medical researchers at Cardiff University.
‘But, as Gruff’s temperature hit 39 degrees we even put out a request to friends on Facebook for a new thermometer because we couldn’t believe the reading on ours and thought it might be broken,’ Mrs Pearson said.
‘Gruff was crying in pain and inconsolable – so we rang the out-of-hours GP number and they advised us to go to hospital.’
Also suffering from bloody diarrhoea, which some medics have named as a less-known by-product of COVID-19, Mrs Pearson and her husband took Gruff to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
There they were admitted to a coronavirus triage centre set up at the onsite Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital.
‘The staff there were great and Gruff was assessed by a very nice doctor behind a face shield and mask. He told us he had all the classic signs of the illness,’ Mrs Pearson said.
‘We were then told to go home, look after him and self-isolate for two weeks. Now, as both my partner and Gruff seem to be over the worst of it, the biggest danger is that I get it too.’
The freelance communications consultant, who lives in Pontcanna, added: ‘Our son went from a happy and alert little boy to very listless and just not himself at all.
‘It was nothing too bad though, so we managed it the best we could by isolating him in the spare bedroom as best as possible – although, with a baby to look after, that’s easier said than done.’
Justin Anthony said his 12-year-old cousin with no pre-existing conditions is on a ventilator and ‘fighting for her life’ in an Atlanta hospital.
The girl, who was only identified as Emma, was diagnosed with pneumonia on March 15. She has since tested positive for coronavirus but the family do not know how, Mr Anthony told CNN.
‘I know first hand how dangerous it is,’ Mr Anthony said.
‘Everyone keeps saying “it doesn’t impact younger people”.
‘But here’s a 12-year-old fighting for her life.
‘People need to practice social distancing. People need to take care of their children.
‘People need to take this seriously.’
Mr Anthony said Emma was placed on a ventilator at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Scottish Rite Hospital, where she is listed in stable condition.
The hospital confirmed that a patient tested positive for COVID-19, but declined to go into details.
Meanwhile, adults who do not fit into the elderly or vulnerable categories are also being told they must stick to social distancing advice because they can also catch the virus.
Those aged between 30 and 50 may be less likely to die from the virus, but they appear to be the most likely to catch it.
The study in China found people aged 30-39 years old make up 17 per cent of patients, while those aged 40-49 account for 19 per cent.
Those in the group 50-59 years are the most likely to catch the virus of all age groups, making up 22.4 per cent of the studied cases.
Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan, who also works as an A&E doctor, highlighted the risk to middle-aged adults after describing scenes at her work.
She tweeted yesterday evening: ‘Today, I did a shift at my local hospital and the experience was deeply, deeply eye-opening.
‘Previously fit and healthy young people in their 30’s and 40’s, attached to machines, fighting for their lives.
‘This is no joke. Yes, most may get mild symptoms, yes many are older but young, healthy patients are NOT immune. The worst of COVID-19, can be horrific.’
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