A mum has advised other parents to be cautious after her toddler’s blotchy rash turned out to be a potentially life-threatening condition.
The woman, from Derry, first noticed a number of red marks on her two-year-son’s stomach. After deciding to keep a close eye on him, she soon realised that the blotchy rash had increased in size and spread to his back, arms and legs.
“Within an hour we were really in a bad place,” the 34-year-old told Belfast Live. “The rash had started to spread and I started to think it was chickenpox and then it got very bad, very fast.”
“The doctors seemed very worried but at the time they weren’t sure what was causing the rash. By then his temperature was spiking and he was very uncomfortable, wanting to scratch at the rash.
“And then he started to convulse. It was terrifying. The doctors and nurses were going as fast as they could to work out what was going on but my wee boy was in danger of dying in front of my eyes.”
After being rushed to Altnaglevin Hospital, doctors battled for two days to discover the cause of the mysterious rash. Tests eventually revealed that the toddler was suffering from an easily treatable condition called strep (streptococci), a bacterial infection which in the worst cases can be fatal if left undiagnosed.
Doctors believe that the infection started in the boy’s throat and then spread to his skin.
His mum said: “It was awful to see him in such a mess but when the antibiotics started to kick in the improvement started quite quickly.
“He’s on two types of antibiotics and a steroid and he’s doing much better but still has a long way to go.”
She goes on to ask other parents to make themselves aware of the warning signs posed by rashes.
“He’s on the mend now but I’d like to warn other parents to be very vigilant when it comes to rashes. A strep infection can be mild or serious but curable, but it can also be deadly. This time we got lucky but I was told it was because I got help fast.”
According to NHS Choices, strep A infections are a common cause of illness that usually aren’t life-threatening, including tonsillitis, middle ear infections and scarlet fever.
To help parents decide when to seek help, they have produced a guide to the most common childhood rashes.