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(THE SUN – UK) — A dad of two is lucky to be alive after catching sepsis from biting his fingernails.
Luke Hanoman, 28, started feeling unwell shortly after biting the skin on the side of his nail.
For a week he had flu-like symptoms while the infection was spreading through his blood.
Hanoman, from Birkdale, Southport — 200 miles northwest of London — was eventually rushed to the hospital where he spent four days under 24-hour observation and was told he was “lucky to be alive” by doctors.
Now fit and well, the warehouse operator is calling for greater awareness of the symptoms of sepsis.
“I used to bite my nails all the time. It was a nervous thing,” he said.
“And one day I bit the skin down the side of my nail. It hurt a bit but I didn’t think anything of it.
“I was in work throughout the week and started to get flu-like symptoms, which were gradually getting worse.
“I had cold sweats, I was shaking, and then going hot. And then my finger started swelling up and I had this unbearable throbbing.
“I started going really weird and I couldn’t focus.”
Luke, who has two sons, 6 and 5, went home from work Friday vowing to rest over the weekend.
“I thought I could just sleep it off. I went to bed on Friday night and woke up at 2 p.m. the next day,” he said.
“My mom came to see me and asked if I was alright because I should have been up by then.”
Luke’s quick-thinking mom called the National Health Service helpline, 111, and told the operator about his symptoms.Enlarge Image
“They told me I had 24 hours to get to [the emergency room],” Hanoman recalled.
“My mom raced me down to hospital. The next thing I knew I was on a stretcher with a drip in my arm.
“It was a bit of a mad one. I had never been in the hospital before.”
Hanoman had red lines all over his body — a common sign an infection is spreading — and a high temperature.
Sepsis occurs as a result of an infection in the body.
The body’s immune system goes into overdrive and begins to attack itself, causing healthy tissue and organs to shut down.
He spent fours day in Southport Hospital in July last year where doctors treated him with antibiotics.
“It was quite scary,” Hanoman said.
“I was on 24-hour observation with two drips in my arms constantly.
“They told me I was lucky to make it so long. I was close to septic shock.
“The doctors and nurses were really good. They didn’t tell me how bad it was because I think they were trying not to worry me too much.
“When I was feeling better they told me I was lucky to be alive.”
Each year there are around 123,000 cases of sepsis in England.
According to the NHS, around 37,000 people die every year as a result of the condition.
Symptoms of the condition include feeling lethargic, having a high temperature, and fast breathing.
They also include dizziness, diarrhea and mottled, blush or pale skin.
Hanoman said: “I knew nothing about sepsis before this. I just thought I had a high temperature and maybe a virus.
“I don’t like taking time off work and just tried to carry on. I guess that’s the dangerous bit. A lot of people would do the same.
“I had no idea what sepsis was and I had no idea about the symptoms to look out for. There needs to be a lot more awareness.
“I think it’s important people know that it can target anyone at any age.
“Eventually they got to the infection in my finger and all of this puss came out. I’ve never seen so much puss before.””
Chemist-4-U.com, where Luke works as a warehouse operator, is backing calls for greater awareness of sepsis and is taking part in Wear Red Day on May 18.
Shamir Patel, founder and pharmacist at Chemist-4-U.com, said: “It’s really important for us to try and raise awareness of an illness that kills so many people, yet still lacks public awareness.
“Luke didn’t know about the symptoms but thankfully he received help in time.
“Hopefully by sharing his story he will be able to warn other people about the dangers, and what people need to look out for.”
Dr. Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, said: “Stories like Luke’s highlight how sepsis is a condition that can strike anyone at any age.
“It’s therefore vital that people are aware of what to look for if they or a loved one are deteriorating with an infection.
“If someone has an infection and something doesn’t feel quite right and if they feel more unwell than they have ever felt before, be prepared, it could be sepsis.”