Septicaemia scare

I have suffered from lympho in my right arm for five years now. I don't think it's an extreme case. Occasionally I wear a glove if my hand swells. Yesterday I started to feel unwell-just mildly headache-y which is unusual for me. This progressed during the day and I started to feel 'delicate'. I had an hour after work at home before setting off for the first session of an evening class 8 miles away. I told my husband I was not feeling too clever, and he made me a quick tea before I left. I spent the two hour session feeling cold and kept my wooly scarf on! By the time I got home I felt really quite poorly, I changed into pjs, gown and layered covers on top. I felt really hot, but shivery at the same time, and a little light headed. I was burning up when I got into bed, and thought I would have a bad dose of flu when I woke in the morning. During the night I woke up various times, but realised I was gradually cooling down. In the morning, I felt much better in myself, but my arm was hurting. I inspected it and realised I had a rash covering half of it. This started alarm bells ringing about infection in my arm. I rang the docs and they asked me to come in. The doc seemed concerned and said she was borderline about sending me to hospital. Turns out if it went worse I was in danger of septicaemia! I have been sent home with high strength antibiotics and have to check the rash doesn't extend and my temperature doesn't increase. If it does I'm straight into hospital. This really is just to make you aware of what could happen. I have bought a thermometer now and think if I had checked my temperature/state of my arm earlier I might have acted sooner. Hopefully this will be ok, I will keep you updated.

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  • Classic symptoms of cellulitis. I make sure that all my clients ask their GPs to supply them with a stock of anti-biotics, because cellulitis has a habit of striking at 5.15pm on a Friday evening, with no chance of accessing a GP before Monday, by which time, as you have experienced with the speed of onset of the infection, it's all too late!

  • PS - I hope you feel better very soon!

  • I agree with Lynora - definitely cellulitis. I first had it in my legs/feet 2 years ago and ended up in hospital having IV antibiotics. I was off work for 2 months. I had another dose of it recently but this time I recognised the initial symptoms and got to the doctors as soon as I could. I had to take 2 different types of pencillin for 10 days and was only off work for 2 weeks. The infection has now left my system but the lymphoedema pain has got worse! Hope you feel better soon.

  • After quite a few hours I'm starting to feel better-interesting to know the name of the condition, thanks for that

  • Thanks for sharing this and glad to know you are recovering. All Lympho sufferers need to be 100% vigilante 24/7 of anything that seems 'abnormal' about their condition. Each one of us has different problems with this incurable condition yet we all share the risks of infection. Always take immediate action as soon as something feels not right.

    Wishing everyone stays safe.

    Cheers

    Christo.

  • hi fridlie

    yup, the first time's really scary & i'm sorry you had such a rough time

    but as long as you've got a good supply of amoxycillin / augmentin stand-by's at home you'll be ok

    i've learned that if i feel like i need to draw round a rash to see if it's spreading i should already be on the augmentin, & the temperature well over 40's a helpful clue too - i go from fine to 42 / 43 in the space of a couple of hours

    i'm on daily penicillin now as a preventative measure - the guidelines say you should consider that if you have 2 bouts in a year - & i bit a hangnail (i know, i know, how stupid, hindsight's a wonderful thing & i'm covering my fingers in whale blubber every night now ... oh, & i never exaggerate!) in january but the rash appeared & travelled much more slowly so i caught it just before it got to the end of my finger & it only took 2 1/2 weeks to get rid of it

    i was reluctant to start taking penicillin every day (& if you're over 11 1/2 stone, which i am slightly, ahem, it's 1g a day) but i worry so much less now if i bang my arm / get a paper cut / have a little cooking hiccup ..... i guess anyone who's thinking about prophylaxis will take account of how clumsy they are as one of the decision-making factors!

    just be aware too, that cos cellulitis is an infection in the layers of the skin themselves (hence the worry about seticaemia) it can be a bit stubborn - when you stop the antibi's, keep an eye out for any signs that it hadn't quite gone & is starting to flare up again & just get your stand-by's out so you're back on the antibi's while you make an appt if you want someone to check it for you (i text a picture to my lymphoedema nurses if i'm not sure, & when i order more augmentin from my repeats list i ask them to just let my gp know i've had another bout but as long as it starts behaving within a few days i just manage it at home)

    lymphoedema, the gift that keeps on giving - hope it hasn't worsened your relationship with yours too much & i'm glad you're starting to feel better

    another thing to consider is having a little 'emergency kit' for if you're out & about - in mine i have savlon / tea tree cream or similar (i use savlon spray or inadine dressing - i want to see the iodine!), plasters, antibac wipes, antibac hand gel, a few latex / vinyl gloves & some tissues, all fits in a little makeup-type bag - so you can get a cut dressed before too many nasties get in, or keep yourself ok in a less than salubrious public loo, & i just add in a strip of augmentin if i'm going to be away from home more than a night

    & the latex gloves are also v handy for if you like seafood / mezze / other messy-to-eat things & don't want to get stains on your compression gloves

    blimey, that's got a bit long - hope i haven't put you off!

    good luck getting properly better

  • Yes agree with most of what's been said before but also suggest you get the latest consensus document on drug use. (I am sure there is one on LSN)

    Due to other drug sensitivities and allergies I have to take clindamycin for such episodes and my last course was for 6 weeks thanks to the good offices of Proff Mortimer. Minimum course duration is 2 weeks... this is much easier to obtain now my GP has done the learning module from LSN... thanks LSN. I have been taking my GP:s copies of the LSN newsletter for some time now so he was very open to learning more about this wretched condition. I know I am very Lucky in this respect.

    I have been admitted to hospital in the past for antibiotics to be delivered by drip. Happily I knew I needed clindamycin as the Medical team didn't. I used to take prophylactic antib's but these have now been discontinued.

    Should you get an episode over the week end then start your store of antibs immediately, if you don't have any then ring for out of hours help or go to A and E.

    I'm a little concerned that you don't seem to be having any care for your arm as surely a Practitioner would have been plying you with some of the excellent literature that LS N produces.

  • Thanks, these are really helpful tips. I think I need to take this condition a bit more seriously. I have come to terms with my lymph and it doesn't really effect me day to day too much, I will definitely set up a first aid pack and look into the wristband/bracelet idea. This has been really informative for me, and I'm glad I found this site!

    My contact with the medics is through MacMillan nurses who attend our local hospice. They measure me for sleeves, but I think I will push them for more info next time.

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