I woke up at 5 am yesterday morning in so much pain. My right boob was red, sore and hot and I knew straight away it was the dreaded mastitis. I remember first learning about mastitis as a vet student in farm animal lectures (those poor moo cows). It looked like it hurt a lot, now I know it surely does. My 5 month old, Ivy, has been breastfed since birth. She has been teething over the last few weeks, resulting in regular comfort feeds during the night. Yesterday morning was the first time in weeks that Ivy slept for several consecutive hours. I had to wake her up to feed her so I could get some relief.
I checked on the NHS website and followed the advice- massaging, expressing and allowing the baby to feed off the sore side frequently. A few hours later and I felt so much worse- it was like having the flu, a migraine and a sore boob all at once. I called NHS 24 and as I had a temperature of 39.1, I was put through to the Covid-19 screening line. The NHS are quite rightly being very thorough and cautious just now, but the nurse agreed with me that it was likely the mastitis causing the fever. I was told a doctor would call me back within 4 hours and that they couldn’t send me anywhere as I had a few possible coronavirus symptoms (headache, shivers, fever)- I was dreading this wait as I honestly felt so unwell.
The doctor called me 10 minutes later! She arranged a prescription for antibiotics to be sent to the nearest open pharmacy (on a Sunday) for me and was so lovely. An hour later and I had my medicine (thanks Dad!) A few hours later and I was already feeling better.
It amazes that even in these most remarkable of times, the NHS are still working flat out to help everyone that needs it. We are so fortunate to live in a country where health care is available to all, free at the point of access. This is the second time I’ve been unwell this year (sinusitis isn’t fun either), my husband had surgery a few months ago and Ivy was in hospital over Christmas with meningitis and sepsis (she is all good now). I can’t imagine how terrifying it must be to watch your family suffer with illness and then also have medical bills hanging over your head.
If you have any of the symptoms of mastitis then seek medical advise early, it can get nasty quickly and in extreme cases, can lead to sepsis. If you’re reading this and you or a family member work for the NHS, thank you so much, you are so appreciated. Stay safe.