YORK nurse and "lockdown hero" Brenna Allsuch is looking forward to hugging her children close again after fighting off a dangerous infection that nearly killed her.

Brenna, 34, was taken ill with sepsis and believes if she had waited just two hours longer to go to A&E she would have died.

Today she wants to thank the medics who saved her life and raise awareness of the signs of sepsis and encourage people to seek medical help quickly if they have symptoms.

The mum of two had acute back ache, which later developed into a fever and high temperature.

At first, she thought she had pulled a muscle, or was suffering from sunstroke. But her medical training kicked in, and she suspected something more serious - sepsis.

York Press: Brenna Allsuch - who fought back from sepsis - standing by her Guardian of York posterBrenna Allsuch - who fought back from sepsis - standing by her Guardian of York poster

Sepsis, or septicaemia, is your body's response to a bacterial infection where your immune system releases chemicals into your blood which trigger inflammation that can lead to organ damage. It can be fatal. Around five people die with sepsis every hour in the UK - or 48,000 a year.

Brenna said: "I had back ache and by the evening I was shaking and shivering and feverish. The next morning, my temperature was 40 degrees and I was violently shaking and I thought I was dying. I couldn't move, or drink anything, and my temperature was raised despite taking paracetamol and ibuprofen.

"As a nurse, that was a warning sign - that nothing was bringing my temperature down."

York Press: Brenna with her partner Jeff ClarkBrenna with her partner Jeff Clark

Brenna's partner is Jeff Clark of the Art of Protest Projects and the man behind the Guardians of York poster trail which saw life-size posters of "lockdown heroes" pasted across the city. Brenna features in one of them. The couple have three children: Jeff's daughter Chloe,16, and Brenna's sons, River, four, and Finn, ten.

Jeff insisted Brenna went to A&E - a decision that probably saved her life. She said: "If I'd waited two more hours to go to A&E I probably would not have survived."

York Press: Brenna with her sons River and FinnBrenna with her sons River and Finn

Brenna was very seriously ill. She was diagnosed with a kidney infection, probably as a result of a urinary tract infection (UTI). She was given antibiotics, fluids and oxygen and cared for by a multi-disciplinary team of experts across the York Hospital.

She said: "I spent a really terrifying few days in hospital. I was very, very confused and I think it was worse for Jeff. I remember him telling me I have to stay strong that I have to fight this.

"That message seeps in and you have to keep going."

York Press: Jeff's daughter Chloe with River and Finn at ChristmasJeff's daughter Chloe with River and Finn at Christmas

Brenna, who moved from the USA to York four years ago, wanted to thank the team at York who cared for her. She said: "I am in awe of the NHS and how wonderful it is - the care I got saved my life."

And she also wants to raise awareness of sepsis. "If you have any kind of fever, pneumonia, UTI and suddenly start to feel unwell and have a nagging feeling that something is not right and your high temperature isn't responding to paracetamol or ibuprofen and you are struggling to do normal things like use the toilet or keep your eyes open when watching TV then call NHS 111 - or go into A&E. Listen to your body - no one will think you are silly."

York Press: York Hospital - Brenna is full of praise for the medics who saved her lifeYork Hospital - Brenna is full of praise for the medics who saved her life

Brenna is now recovering at home and looking forward to getting cuddles from her children again.

For more information visit: sepsistrust.org

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