Child Gets Sepsis After Minor Fall. Learn How You Can Be Proactive

Family Health

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder


Kids fall down and get bumps, scrapes and bruises all the time. And it’s usually no big deal. But one mother in the United Kingdom recently had the scare of her life when her eight-year-old son developed sepsis after what seemed like a harmless fall at the zoo.

Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammation throughout the body. Think of it as your immune system going into overdrive to battle the infection, whether it be bacterial, fungal or viral. The resulting inflammation can end up damaging your organs and causing them to fail.

The mother, Alexandra Ruddy, said that her son Ewan “only suffered a small scrape on his hand, elbow and knee that didn’t require major medical attention,” according to this news report

At home, Ruddy and her husband cleaned their son’s wounds, bandaged them and said nothing looked infected. But about a week later, Ewan developed a fever (one of the symptoms of sepsis) and complained about a red mark on his wrist that he said was itchy.

“People with sepsis often develop a hemorrhagic rash—a cluster of tiny blood spots that look like pinpricks in the skin. If untreated, these gradually get bigger and begin to look like fresh bruises. These bruises then join together to form larger areas of purple skin damage and discoloration,” according to John Hopkins Medicine.

Ruddy took Ewan to a pediatrician, who said it was sepsis. 

“He put a black marker on the line and said if it gets wider or bigger than this line you need to come back immediately,” she said.

Her son was given antibiotics, and, luckily, he started to heal from the infection. Ruddy posted the photo of her son’s red line on his wrist with the black marker on social media in order to warn other parents that what may seem like a harmless scrape can actually be very serious and life-threatening. 

Ruddy said she had been inclined to get her son checked out, because a couple of years ago she had seen a similar post from a friend herself. 

Ruddy posted this message on social media: “If you spot this red line running from a wound along the vein get yourself/your child seen straight away. Hopefully my post might help someone the way my friend’s post from 2 years ago helped me.”

Although more common in either younger children (infants under three months) and elderly people (those who are 65 and older), sepsis can cause the death of a child within hours. Furthermore, children who survive sepsis may have “lingering effects,” including ones that impact “physical, social, emotional and school functioning for months after they are discharged from the hospital,” according to this source.

This all depends on the severity of the sepsis case and if the child experienced organ damage and endured an infection of the central nervous system. Luckily, the little boy in the news story discussed got medical attention as soon as his mom saw a warning sign and didn’t appear to have any major issues.

How else can we be proactive, other than looking out for warning signs?

As per usual, nutrition is key.

It is critical we have the right balance of vitamins and minerals to keep our immune systems in top shape and performing as well as possible in order to fight off infections and inflammation. 

Here are a few minerals that may help with immunity:

  • Zinc. 

There is a reason why you have probably seen zinc lozenges in the cold and flu aisle of your local drug store. Zinc is important for a healthy immune system, as it can help you get sick less often or get well quicker. Oysters are the highest source of zinc. You can also get zinc from red meat, poultry, crabs, shrimp, lobster, oatmeal, whole grains, cheeses, yogurt, beans and nuts.

  • Selenium. 

Some studies have shown this mineral has anti-cancer benefits due to having antioxidant properties. This mineral is also believed to have anti-infection benefits. Dietary sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, oysters, whole grains and meats.

  • Copper. 

One study suggests copper door knobs may protect patients from germs in hospitals. Not only do copper surfaces possibly have powerful disease fighting properties, but copper is also something we all should have in our diets to help boost our immunity. Organ meats, shellfish, nuts, seeds, wheat-bran cereals and whole grain products are all good sources of copper.

  • Iron. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports iron is “a nutrient that is essential for both microbial pathogens and their mammalian hosts, on the course of infectious disease. Our studies indicate that alterations in the expression of host molecules that sequester or transport iron can have direct effects on pathogen growth and can also have an impact on the ability to mount normal immune responses.” There are two types of iron -- heme and non-heme. Heme iron is rich in lean meat and seafood. This is more bioavailable, meaning your body can use it better. Non-heme iron is found in nuts, grains, vegetables and other fortified products.

  • Vitamin C.

“Vitamin C, through its antioxidant functions, has been shown to protect leukocytes [white blood cells, which are the immune system cells] from self-inflicted oxidative damage,” according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit. Bell peppers are also a great source of this vitamin.

And finally, it is also extremely important to avoid nutritional deficiencies. One of the ways you can do this, in addition to eating a variety of healthy foods, is to get a comprehensive nutrient test to determine whether you or your child has any nutrient deficiencies or imbalances. If you do, a competent healthcare professional can work with you on making the necessary dietary changes and recommend quality supplements if necessary.


Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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