Many people who were born more than twenty years ago remember, not too fondly, their bout with chicken pox. Also known as varicella, chicken pox is a highly contagious infection that causes the tell-tale itchy, blistery, red rash, among other symptoms. It used to be almost a rite of passage for kids in school, where the disease would often spread like wildfire; prior to the introduction of the vaccine in the United States in 1995, there were around 4,000,000 cases each year!
Today, the varicella vaccine is part of the routine vaccination schedule in the United States, which has resulted in a huge decrease in incidence. In 2005, there were about 400,000 cases of the disease reported. Although the numbers speak for themselves, the vaccine is not currently part of the routine immunization schedule in some other countries. Because chicken pox is rarely fatal, it is often viewed as more of an inconvenience than a serious illness. But what happened to her son, Lewis, has Hayley Lyons warning parents everywhere. Please note that some of the following images are quite shocking and may be disturbing to some viewers.
When mother-of-three Hayley saw her son exhibiting all the classic symptoms of the chicken pox, she took him straight to the doctor.
Since the disease is caused by a virus and antivirals are not usually recommended, treatment of the chicken pox is mainly about easing the symptoms.
Aside from the usual itchy rash, people suffering from chicken pox most commonly experience fever, fatigue, and headaches. Normally for pain and fever, parents would choose either ibuprofen or acetaminophen. In Lewis’ case, four different doctors told Hayley to give him ibuprofen to keep his persistent fever at bay.
Although the doctors kept telling her it was “just chicken pox,” Hayley’s mother’s instinct knew something was wrong. In fact, Lewis seemed to be getting worse, particularly the blistery rash.
Rather than let the doctors ignore her concerns, she took her son to nearby Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to be seen by pediatric specialists. Once the doctors there saw him, her concerns were finally taken seriously and Lewis was immediately admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with septicemia, a severe infection of the blood. Septicemia is a very serious complication that can result from having an infection in another part of your body. In Lewis’ case, the worsening of his chicken pox rash caused by the ibuprofen made it easier for the bacteria that caused the septicemia to enter his bloodstream.
Although ibuprofen is a common medication for pain and fever relief, its use is advised against when dealing with children suffering from chicken pox. After her scary experience, Hayley took to the Internet to warn other parents against using ibuprofen in cases like this, regardless of what doctors say. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which publishes healthcare guidelines in the United Kingdom, even released a statement backing up her cautionary tale.
Be sure to SHARE this important health warning with your family and friends!