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NI mum praises hospital staff after six-month old Lexie overcomes Covid-19 and bronchiolitis


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Lexie Graham.

Lexie Graham.

Lexie Graham.

This is little Lexie Girvan who has fought and won her battle with the deadly coronavirus.

Six-month-old Lexie is believed to be the youngest person in Northern Ireland to have tested positive for Covid-19.

Her brave mum Claira Keenan has told Sunday Life of her joy that Lexie is back to her "normal smiley self" after a scary and stressful fortnight.

The Newtownabbey woman has also pleaded with everyone to take the virus seriously and obey social distancing rules.

Claira (19) has revealed what it was like to care for little Lexie who had previously battled through bronchiolitis, flu, meningitis and febrile convulsions.

She said: "At first I didn't really know she was that unwell as she had just shaken off a dose of bronchiolitis but her breathing started to get really bad.

"I didn't really think too much of it given what she had just been through but I checked her temperature and it was 40.1C, so I stripped her down and put her to bed for half an hour.

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Lexie in hospital

Lexie in hospital

Lexie in hospital

"She then started having a seizure which was pretty scary and her temperature had gone up to 40.2c.

"I then started to think that something unusual was going on, even with everything she had already gone through she just didn't seem herself.

"I decided to take her into A&E at the Antrim Area Hospital and as soon as we got there the doctors came out to the ambulance and swabbed us for coronavirus before taking us into an isolation unit.

"We spent a while in the isolation unit, her temperature went up again and she had another fit.

"I called the doctors and they didn't do much at that point apart from make observations and telling me to keep an eye on her.

"My partner didn't know what to do as he wasn't allowed into the hospital with us, it was very stressful for everyone involved."

Lexie Graham

After spending the night in the isolation unit under supervision, Claira and Lexie were allowed to go home but the ordeal was far from over.

Claira, who is also expecting another child, added: "At around 11am the next day they let us out and said they would call us with the results from the coronavirus test.

"It takes a few days for the results to come back apparently so we then had to wait.

"It was terrible, it was just constant worry.

"I was constantly checking her temperature and couldn't sleep because I was very worried about her taking another fit again during the night.

"The doctors called the next day around 6pm and said she was confirmed positive for the virus and just told me to keep an eye on her and if I needed anything to come back to A&E.

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Mum and Lexie

Mum and Lexie

Mum and Lexie

"I just gave her Calpol and kept checking on her as much as possible, particularly her temperature.

"I was completely scared, especially as I am pregnant as well.

"I had double reasons to be worried, it was terrifying.

"We had already been self-isolating for about two weeks before she was diagnosed, we had been out shopping before the lockdown and had been doing it since then.

"I just had to focus on Lexie and keep an eye on her symptoms. From day one to day three nothing much changed except her temperature and a bit of a cough, by day eight I was starting to really worry again.

"She was completely not herself, her temperature was really high and she was just sleeping all the time, she only really woke up for her bottle.

"I had rang the hospital at that stage and they told me she would be better off at home rather than going back to the hospital.

"It was really difficult trying to balance my concern for her with listening to the professionals instructing us to stay put, especially as I can't see my mum and dad at the moment who are usually a huge help with Lexie.

"After a few more days she still wasn't 100% but was much better and in really good form.

"We took her outside in the garden at that point and let her sit in the sun.

"After that she just got better and better. I think just a bit of fresh air around her helped a lot.

"I was completely over the moon, it was so good to see her with a smile on her face.

"It really lifted a weight off our shoulders when she was finally getting better."

Claira, her partner Matthew Girvan and Lexie are all self-isolating under the lockdown, with nobody showing any more symptoms of Covid-19.

Claira was also diagnosed with Covid-19 but says she was fortunate, despite being an asthmatic, to have had relatively mild symptoms - a temperature and bad cough - from which she's now recovered.

She is full of praise for the frontline staff who came to her aid and warned people not to make light of the deadly disease.

"I am incredibly grateful to the NHS workers and key workers who were there for us, I'm so grateful to them for their help," she said.

"The fact they took her in so quickly was amazing, in the ambulance and everything they were very reassuring and I can't thank them enough.

"We have had quite a few people getting in touch to wish us well which is lovely. I've also had parents asking about what it's like and what to look out for while wishing us all the best which is nice.

"It's been about 20 days since we've been able to see anybody, even close friends and family which has been tough but we just have to do what we can."

Urging people to take the virus seriously, she said: "You see people making jokes about this virus online but it really is nothing to laugh about, it's very serious and I think people are starting to realise that with the number of deaths just going up and up.

"It's really frightening."

Belfast Telegraph