As a parent, Hayley Lyons was no stranger to a sick child, but one day she was met with a classic parenting nightmare: her son Lewis contracted chickenpox. When she took him to the doctor, they outlined a care plan to keep Lewis comfortable while the illness ran its course. Following their instructions without a second thought, Haley gave her son ibuprofen.
It wasn't too long, though, before Hayley realized that the recommended treatments weren't working. In fact, the ibuprofen was actually making Lewis worse. His fever increased and the characteristic chickenpox rash developed into severely painful blisters. Although Hayley knew something was wrong, the doctors insisted that Lewis' worsened condition was completely normal.
Unfortunately, Hayley's motherly instinct was right. Her son ended up having to be admitted to the Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool due to septicemia, a bacterial infection of the blood. Despite his serious illness, he was only admitted to the hospital because Hayley refused to give up until a doctor took them seriously.
Now, Hayley doesn't want her nightmare to have happened in vain. She's using Lewis' story to warn other parents about the dangers of using ibuprofen to help treat chickenpox. She's shared her testimony and the shocking photos of Lewis' symptoms on social media to help get the message out there. Her post has now been shared hundreds of thousands of times. She also raised enough awareness that the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health released a public statement to warn parents and doctors about the dangers of ibuprofen in the case of chickenpox treatment.
Keep scrolling to see Hayley's story and warning. Please note that the images could be shocking for some.
“Chickenpox is going around again. Can I please remind people NOT to give your children Nurofen/ibuprofen?” Hayley implored.
"Four different doctors from our local (out of hours) practice prescribed it for Lewis as we couldn’t get his temperature down," she explained.
“This type of medicine is an anti-inflammatory, and it reacts with chickenpox, making them go deeper into the skin tissue.”
“It was only when we took Lewis to Alder Hey, because the doctors from our hospital kept sending him home saying it was ‘just chickenpox,' we found this out. He ended up with septicemia and was admitted straight to Alder Hey as soon as we arrived there.”
Septicemia, sometimes called sepsis, is a serious illness. The blood infection can even lead to organ failure and septic shock. Symptoms include fever, shaking, chills, rapid pulse/breathing, nausea, and vomiting.
“Only because we persevered and took Lewis to a children’s hospital [...] was he OK. This could have ended up so much worse if it wasn’t for those doctors [Alder Hey].
It does actually state on the Nurofen website not to take this medicine with chickenpox, which we discovered after this happened. But when our doctors prescribe it, who are we to question it?”
Luckily, Lewis is getting better and expected to make a full recovery.
Alongside the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released a recommendation that ibuprofen never be used by someone suffering from chickenpox.
Other parents have reached out to Hayley, thanking her for speaking up about this serious complication. Hayley is just grateful that people are being so helpful in getting the word out. “I’m so thankful to everyone for sharing the post so that something will now be done about it,” she said. “These medical professionals are now going to ensure that all doctors know the risks, and, hopefully, they’ll no longer prescribe it. I will not stop raising awareness until these types of medicines are labeled with the risks of this being prescribed to someone with chickenpox."
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H/T: Hayley Lyons