Mark Stock, 56, from Bedford, suffered from post-sepsis syndrome after being seriously ill with a streptococcal infection in February 2015
Shivering uncontrollably during a night out, Mark Stock thought he probably had the flu.
"I just couldn't get warm, so I called my wife and asked her to get me some hot soup," Mark 56 remembers.
"But by the time I got home, I had developed hot sweat and lost my appetite, so I went straight to bed."
The next day, with a little better feeling, Mark drove from his home in Bedford to a training workshop 50 miles away, but at 11 o'clock he felt terrible again.
"I still thought it was just a case of flu," recalls the father of two, who is a partner at an accounting firm. "I had never really been seriously ill, but this time I drove home, went to bed and spent the weekend there."
On Sunday evening he looked yellow and his wife Christine, 60, had him make an appointment with his doctor at 8:00 the next day.
& # 39; I had never felt so sick and became very weak & # 39 ;, says Mark. "I had painful joints and uncontrollable shivers."
Mark & # 39; s doctor said the shivers were the hardships – a symptom of an infection and high fever. She immediately sent Mark to intensive care at the local hospital.
A team waited for him and he got a drip with antibiotics while they waited for blood test results to find out what type of infection he had.
When Mark left the hospital in the photo in February 2015, he was extremely weak and tired. His joints were painful and he couldn't work full time for four months
Mark spent the next three days in the hospital, in a crazy state, while his body tried to fight the infection.
"My joints were swollen, I was confused and felt very wobbly," Mark recalls. "I used so many painkillers and antibiotics that I felt completely at a distance."
After three days he was diagnosed with streptococcal infection. "I have no idea where it comes from, but I scratched myself while gardening and strep are found in the ground," he says. "I received several antibiotics and after five days I was fired."
At the time, no one mentioned to Mark that the cause of his symptoms was sepsis, a life-threatening condition in which the body's immune system goes into overdrive in response to an infection, resulting in tissue damage and, in severe cases, organ failure and death.
There are around 250,000 cases of sepsis a year in the UK and 52,000 people die from it.
The 41-year-old Sarah McCandless, in the photo, who lives in Hayes, Kent, was in the hospital for nine days after sepsis held. She was later told that the condition may have caused a heart problem
Symptoms include uncontrollable shivers, high temperature and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Thanks to an awareness campaign that has defended the Mail, more people now survive because the symptoms are diagnosed and treated earlier.
However, the lack of information meant that Mark was not prepared for the devastating after-effects. When he left the hospital in February 2015, he was extremely weak and tired. His joints were painful and he couldn't work full time for four months.
WHAT IS SEPSIS?
Sepsis occurs when the body responds to an infection by attacking its own organs and tissues.
In the UK, around 44,000 people die of sepsis every year. Someone from the disease dies every 3.5 seconds worldwide.
Sepsis has symptoms similar to flu, gastroenteritis and a breast infection.
- Svague speech or confusion
- Extreme chills or muscle pain
- Pdo not assess urine on a day
- Salways short of breath
- Iit feels like you're dying
- Schin stained or discolored
Symptoms in children are:
- Fast breathing
- Fits or convulses
- Spotted, bluish or pale skin
- Skin rash that does not fade when pressed
- Feeling abnormally cold
Among the five, repeated vomiting, no eating, or no peeing can occur for 12 hours.
Anyone can develop sepsis, but it is most common in people who have recently had surgery, have a urinary catheter, or have been in the hospital for a long time.
Other risk people are people with a weak immune system, chemotherapy patients, pregnant women, the elderly and very young people.
The treatment varies depending on the site of the infection, but includes antibiotics, IV fluids and oxygen if necessary.
Source: UK Sepsis Trust and NHS choices
He also had problems with memory and concentration, and he was afraid he needed psychiatric help. "Things just didn't come the way they used to," says Mark. "I would forget the names of colleagues & # 39; s, leave keys or forget to put things in my suitcase. I wondered if I lost it. & # 39;
In fact, Mark suffered from post-sepsis syndrome (PSS), a collection of symptoms that affects about one-third of sepsis survivors. Symptoms include memory and cognitive problems, depression, lethargy, chest pain, insomnia, dry skin and nails, poor appetite and excessive sweating.
& # 39; Sepsis is an attack on the whole body and all organs are affected, therefore PSS symptoms are so broad & # 39 ;, explains Dr. Ron Daniels, consultant in intensive care medicine at Birmingham University Hospitals Trust and CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust charity.
Yet many patients are not warned about PSS or the support they need to address the long-term side effects.
"We need better education for community doctors, pharmacists, and nurses in the community, because they are the professionals who see people with symptoms in the community afterwards," says Daniels.
"We need more rehabilitation, including physical therapy, nutritional advice and counseling, and a national register of survivors of sepsis to find out what the long-term effects are.
"There is no NHS source for rehabilitation of survivors of sepsis and this must change."
Six months after his stay in the hospital, Mark contacted the Sepsis Trust for advice.
"Only then did I become aware of the post-sepsis syndrome," says Mark. "But experts say there can be more than a million sepsis survivors in the UK."
Survivors often only have serious, long-lasting symptoms, says Larry Matthews, a former intensive care nurse and charity support consultant.
"Sometimes they don't know they are even connected with sepsis and many doctors don't recognize PSS," he says.
Although the symptoms of PSS can be varied, 71 percent of those affected experience significant fatigue. Other common symptoms are muscle and joint pain.
Six months after his stay in the hospital, Mark, in the photo, contacted the Sepsis Trust for advice and was told about post-sepsis syndrome
"It usually takes 12 to 18 months, but some patients may be left with a certain degree of permanent disability, such as difficult exercise as they did before," says Daniels.
"The cause is not fully understood. Nerve damage that causes muscle weakness and pain in the limbs is probably caused by poor blood supply to the affected area and memory problems are caused by nerve damage in brain tissue. & # 39;
Although Mark often saw his doctor for joint pain and fatigue, she treated these symptoms separately, instead of recognizing that they could be connected.
Sarah, now pictured, said it took nine months for & # 39; to become normal again & # 39; after she had sepsis
& # 39; Just knowing that this is a recognized syndrome would have really helped because I was wondering why I was missing so many things, & he said. "After two years I was still struggling with memory problems, joint pain and fatigue, which made me feel depressed."
Larry Matthews says that Mark & # 39; s experience is not uncommon.
& # 39; Patients with PSS may end up in a spiral of deterioration in health, suffer from fatigue, pain and impaired mobility, but 70 percent do not get information about PSS upon discharge and wonder why all these things happen to them & # 39 ;, he says. & # 39; It helps them to know that this is a syndrome. & # 39;
This was the experience of Sarah McCandless, 41, who developed sepsis in February 2017. Sarah, who lives in Hayes, Kent, with her husband Chris, an accountant, and their children Harry, 12 and Freya, ten, spent nine hours in the hospital. days after sepsis got a hold.
She was later told that the condition may have caused a heart problem.
"I had no heart symptoms when I was in the hospital, but an MRI scan two weeks later showed that I had heart damage as a result of the infection," says Sarah. & # 39; I was told that I would have to take medication for the rest of my life. & # 39;
Sarah also had & # 39; red skin – as a serious case of sunburn & # 39; developed in the hospital and at home it started to fall off her hands, feet and body and she was terribly tired.
"For the first few weeks I could only lie in bed or on the couch," she recalls. & # 39; Even after that, a short walk blew me away. I would get up and do what I had to do, but I would be in bed for a few days at 8 p.m. because I was so exhausted.
"It took nine months to get back to normal. My muscles were also sore and I had some mental fog, which was not like me. I also lost 70 percent of my hair. & # 39;
Sarah eventually found out about PSS by contacting the UK Sepsis Trust a few weeks after she was released from the hospital.
"I went to a sepsis survivor group four months after my hospital stay and it was a revelation that all those other people had experienced similar symptoms to me. I felt relieved that I was not the only one who took a long time to recover. & # 39;
To help sepsis survivors through PSS, the charity has a helpline for survivors, as well as 31 support groups across the country. It has also produced a PSS brochure that it wants to distribute to patients upon discharge from the hospital.
Four years later, Mark is still suffering from pains in his wrists, hips, ankles and shoulder and is now being examined for nerve damage. "Sepsis has caused me significant long-term health problems," says Mark.
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