A DAD who thought he had “man flu” but lost all four limbs to Strep A has said he is terrified to see cases surge.
Alex Lewis, 42, collapsed in 2013 and was taken to hospital where he was given just a three percent chance of survival.
His Strep A infection, which for most people is little more than a sore throat, led to toxic shock syndrome and septicaemia.
On November 17 that year, he woke up in immense pain and his skin had begun turning purple.
Alex had to be rushed to hospital and within hours his organs were being kept working by mechanical assistance.
Over the following months he had to undergo surgery reconstructing his face and lost all of his limbs as medics fought for his life.
It comes as a five-year-old girl became the ninth child to die after contracting Strep A.
The youngster fell severely ill last week and was treated in hospital but sadly passed away yesterday.
And reports of rising deaths have brought it all back for Alex who begged other parents to be vigilant.
Alex said: “I saw an interview with the father of a little girl in Alder Hey hospital and that was pretty raw. I can only imagine what he’s going through and I know my family went through similar. It’s tough.
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“It’s great that the media is raising awareness. I think it’s important parents don’t panic as it is cold and flu season, but with low baseline immunity after two years of not mixing, things are spreading in schools and it’s quite a worrying time.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. We know the NHS is under a lot of pressure, but contact your GP, call 111 or go to A&E if necessary and get your child on antibiotics.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry. I’m very lucky to be here. Don’t be afraid to push to have your child seen.”
It comes as a wave of the infection has hit the UK in the last month.
Lockdowns during the pandemic, when kids were trapped indoors, are being blamed for the outbreak.
As cases of scarlet fever and Strep A sweep across the UK, several primary schools have made the decision to close.
St Vincent’s Voluntary Catholic Academy in Hull shut for a “deep clean” on Friday after a small number of children came down with a bug.
Parents at the school gates on Monday were in agreement that it was the right precaution to take.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the last time there was an intensive period of Strep A infection was in 2017-18 when four deaths were recorded in England in the equivalent time frame.
Group A Streptococcus is the name given to a type of bacteria sometimes found in the throat or on the skin.
The Sun’s Dr Jeff Foster said Strep A is one of the most common bugs doctors see in kids every year, but that it is currently surging.
He said: “It is commonly found in children under ten and is spread by droplets and close contact — through spit, sneezing, coughing and touching infected surfaces. It’s the same way you would get a common cold.
“You can get mild cases where children have a temperature and a sore throat. If it becomes scarlet fever they would get a rash, which looks like sandpaper, around four or five days after the temperature starts, and red flushing cheeks.
“This year’s is not a new variant. It’s the post-Covid effect as kids were not exposed to bugs for two years.”