Mum shares Strep A warning signs after her daughter fell victim to the infection – leaving her hospitalised and unable to walk
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Kadie Dolphin, 37, first noticed symptoms of the infection on November 8 and just hours later her daughter was in hospital.
She had severe swelling and unable to walk.
Thankfully, Nancie Rae Dolphin, 6, recovered from the infection and Kadie says she is back to her normal bubbly self.
The mum-of-five has shared the harrowing experience to help other parents recognise the symptoms in their own children.
Kadie said: “The doctors said that it being caught early was reason she got well so quickly.
“I was absolutely petrified to be honest - at the point where she started to turn really bad, we didn’t know what it was and it felt like it took forever to find out what was wrong.
“The doctor was saying that the swelling was coming up before her eyes, [Nancie Rae] was swelling right before us, the doctor said we really are concerned and it was then that I thought ‘oh god’.
“The worrying thing is that I didn’t know what was going on - I was looking at her thinking ‘am I going to walk out without my daughter’.”
Kadie, a healthcare assistant, from Warrington, Cheshire, first noticed that something was wrong with Nancie Rae on the evening of November 7.
Her daughter had come downstairs at 6pm complaining of an itchy belly – and when Kadie looked, she noticed there was a small mark resembling a mosquito bite on her tummy and her knee.
She gave her daughter an anti-histamine and thought nothing more of it, until Nancie Rae came downstairs the following morning at 6am with a high temperature and a rash where the ‘bites’ had been.
“On November 7, my daughter finished school happy and healthy – she’s a livewire anyway, she’s crazy,” said Kadie.
“About 6pm she came downstairs and said ‘mummy my belly is itching’, it looked like she had a little bite.
“Because she’d been out playing, I assumed she had been bit by a mosquito and had a reaction.
“I gave her an antihistamine but the next morning the rash was all over her belly – it was a weird, flat rash and she was very hot to touch.”
Kadie tried to get a GP appointment but was told nothing would be available until 6pm that day – and by 9.30am, Nancie Rae’s hand had begun to swell up.
Deciding not to wait, Kadie took her daughter to Halton Urgent Care centre and within five minutes of arriving the pair had been placed in a room and seen by a doctor.
While they initially believed it to be an allergic reaction, as Nancie Rae continued to swell in her hands, face and lymph nodes, they decided to move her to Warrington Hospital.
On arrival, she was given Amoxycillin antibiotics and blood samples and a throat swab were taken to be tested – at which point she was diagnosed with a Strep A infection.
Kadie said: “I went to Halton Urgent Care and said I thought it was a reaction so one doctor gave her a Piriton but another doctor said it wasn’t typical for an allergic reaction.
“She was swelling up before our eyes – a couple more fingers were swollen up, her lymph nodes were swollen, there were lumps in her throat and her legs were hurting.
“We went to Warrington Hospital and they started her on Amoxycillin, they had to take 11 vials of blood from her.
“She had lost the ability to walk, every joint was swollen up, she was completely red and still had a high temperature – that was when they took a throat swab for Strep A.
“Throughout the night the medicine wouldn’t kick in and they kept coming back saying she’s not getting better – she was kind of awake but she was very floppy and couldn’t hold herself up.
“Amoxycillin is useless to Strep A, so they changed from steroids to penicillin.”
She was given penicillin via an IV drip but due to the high concentration of the antibiotic, it left the youngster with a burning sensation in her arms.
Nancie Rae was unable to walk or talk, and Kadie says she was ‘screaming’ as she was in so much pain.
Doctors continued to monitor her condition, as Kadie and her daughter remained in the hospital for two days.
Thankfully, after 48 hours, Nancie Rae’s condition began to improve as the swelling reduced and she was sent home with antibiotics.
While she was left with some lasting effects, including damage to her kidneys and a secondary infection, she recovered at home and Kadie says she is back to her ‘normal crazy mental self’.
Kadie said: “The care given has been fantastic, I can’t fault the NHS whatsoever - they were absolutely amazing and really on the ball.
“For a six-year-old she’s quite tiny anyway and this infection has ravished her body but she's back to her normal crazy mental self.
“She’s wild doesn’t give us a minute's peace, once she’s opened her eyes she won’t shut up.
“All we keep hearing about is the children passing but that’s not all it is, she’s home and fine now, as awful as it was, we need to build immunity.”
The NHS website says the main symptoms parents and caregivers should look out for are:
- Flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature, swollen glands, or an aching body- Sore throat- A rash that feels rough, like sandpaper- Scabs and sores- Pain and swelling- Severe muscle aches- Nausea and vomiting