Plymouth mother who almost lost her daughter to Group A Strep warns parents to trust their gut

  • Watch Claire Manning's report

A mother who almost lost her daughter to Group A Strep is warning other parents to trust their gut and seek medical help when their child is seriously ill.

Thea Rowe found her 19-month-old daughter Mila with a mottled rash, and blue lips, hands and feet after she had been under the weather for several days. The toddler's right arm had also become swollen and hard.

Thea, from Plymouth, knew something was wrong and rushed her child to Derriford Hospital.

"Within literally, it felt like about 10 seconds, we had about 10 different people around the bed," Thea said.

"Surgeons, nurses, doctors, consultants, plastic surgeons, everyone, and they just said, 'we need to take her to emergency surgery now', so they did," she added.

Staff at the hospital realised that Mila was suffering from complications caused by a Group A Strep infection. This had turned into a more serious condition, with the toddler left battling sepsis.

Mila was seriously unwell and required multiple emergency surgeries to tackle the sepsis she was suffering from

'I thought she was going to die'

Mila was rushed into surgery but her mother, Thea, said she was left unsure whether her child would live.

"When we found out it was Strep, I was really frightened, because she was so poorly and I didn't know if she was going to be okay", she said.

"The doctors were doing - had done - everything they could but... no-one sort of said to us, 'she's going to be okay' and no-one would say it to us.

"It was really frightening because I thought for a second she was going to die," she added.

After spending more than two weeks in hospital, Mila is now on the mend. But Thea is now keen to warn other parents that they too should trust their instincts if their child becomes unwell.

Staff working for the NHS in Devon have endorsed Thea's message.

Dr Kerr-Liddell said: "If you are worried about your child, then you must seek medical help - and there are lots of different ways to do that.

"You can seek help through NHS 111 either online or via telephone, through your GP, but actually if you're really worried, you can come to the emergency department, that's what we're there for, that's our role - and equally, the paramedics and the ambulance service is available."

Dr Kerr-Liddell has backed Thea's call for more parents to trust their gut when it comes to knowing if their child is seriously unwell

In most cases, Group A Strep is easily treatable with antibiotics and and doctors also encourage parents to make sure they get their child the nasal flu spray.

Dr Kerr Liddell added: "Other things you can do is be very careful with hand washing and hygiene, and if your child does get given antibiotics for a Strep infection, keeping them at home for 24 hours to stop the spread in the community would be really helpful."

What are the main symptoms of Strep A?

Strep A bacteria can cause different illnesses, but usually begins with these typical symptoms:

  • A rash

  • Sore throat

  • Flushed cheeks

  • A swollen tongue

  • Severe muscle aches

  • High fever

  • Localised muscle tenderness

  • Redness at the site of a wound

What are the symptoms of scarlet fever?

  • Sore throat

  • Headache

  • Fever

  • A pink or red rash with a fine, sandpaper-like texture

  • Red face, but pale around the mouth with a white or red tongue

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