Bristol boy with swollen ‘Covid eye’ spent Christmas in hospital on IV drop

A nine-year-old boy spent Christmas in the hospital after getting coronavirus and developing a rare complication.

Zac Morey, from Bradley Stoke near Bristol, was placed on an IV drip at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children after his eye was severely raised after infection.

His mother Angela Morey wants to raise awareness of the unusual effect of the virus and pay tribute to the NHS staff who took care of him and made him feel special during his three-day stay.

READ MORE: Covid walk-in vaccination clinics in Bristol before New Year

Mother of five told Bristol live: “I have not seen anything like it before.

“The [the doctors] said that it is an allergic reaction to the virus and that it is really rare and mostly happens to children. It’s a rare complication of Covid. “

All six of them, the children and Angela, tested positive for sidestreams on December 16, but had only mild cold-like symptoms.

They had been preparing for an uneventful Christmas day, but the reduced period of self-isolation was announced just in time.

Angela, 37, said: “Suddenly Christmas was back in the bag and we were allowed to come out again – then Zac said he had a sore eye.”

It was December 22, after two lateral currents had yielded negative results and his mild Covid symptoms had disappeared.

After a remote consultation with his doctor, they were referred to Bristol Eye Hospital, where doctors prescribed antibiotics and urged them to return if it did not get better.

On Christmas Eve, after no recovery, they went back and were then referred to the emergency department at the children’s hospital.

Zac was admitted to the Caterpillar ward and diagnosed with ‘periorbital cellulitis’, which is an infection of the eyelid or the skin around the eye.

Angela said she was grateful that Zac did not have pain during her hospital stay, and even though she was unable to spend the night because of the coronavirus rules, as she had only recently had the virus, she was allowed to visit the daytime, and the nurses pampered him in the meantime.

She got there as quickly as possible on Christmas morning, worried he would wake up without presents, but found him on his bed surrounded by presents donated by the hospital’s charity Grand Appeal.

She added: “They had decorated and given him pajamas and Lego and he could just relax watching movies on TV.

“I actually think he found it quite interesting to be in the hospital for the first time – he was not scared at all, he was just fascinated by it all.”

The doctors there were considering operating on Zac to drain fluid from his eye, but by Christmas Day 2, antibiotics had started working and the swelling was reduced, which meant he could be prescribed that day with more medicine to take at home.



Nine-year-old Zac Morey developed a severely swollen eye after contracting coronavirus
Nine-year-old Zac Morey developed a severely swollen eye after contracting coronavirus

Angela, who is the caretaker of her nanny as well as a Bradley Stoke city councilor, added: “His eye is almost back to normal now and we’ve finally had our ‘Christmas day’ all together.”

She said everyone they met at the hospitals was “amazing” and Zac was able to enjoy the Santa Claus parade outside the hospital on Christmas Eve, which is a particular pleasure to encourage patients who live there over Christmas.

The mother added: “One of the nurses took him to the window in a chair with his drip to look out the window.”

Since his release, she especially went out to buy hand cream and other goodies to give back to the staff there as a thank you.

Angela, who has been double-vaccinated, tested positive the day she was to receive her booster stick.

The councilor said the whole family had very mild symptoms and added: “The children did not suffer at all – they did not have coughs or temperatures, it just went through them.

“It really just felt like a cold, all the symptoms were exactly the same.”

She said that if Zac had not tested positive, she would never have known to connect his swollen eye with Covid.

The effect has not been widely reported and therefore she is eager to create awareness as it could potentially have evolved into something more serious or might not have been identified as Covid-related if not the positive test.



Angela Morey of Bradley Stoke with her nine-year-old son Zac
Angela Morey of Bradley Stoke with her nine-year-old son Zac

‘Occurs in 1-3% of Covid patients’

Earlier this year, a study on eye-related Covid symptoms found: “Patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 may present with acute conjunctivitis symptoms, including eye redness, eye irritation, eye tenderness, foreign body sensation, tearing, mucosal discharge, swelling of eyelids, congestion and chemosis. “

Specsavers also advises on its website: “Coronavirus can cause conjunctivitis, but it is quite rare – occurs in about 1-3 percent of affected people and is on the list of less frequent symptoms of the World Health Organization.

“Conjunctivitis associated with Covid-19 tends to occur in the later stages of the disease along with more common symptoms such as persistent cough and fever.”

In a tweet thanking hospital staff after Zac’s release, Angela described them as “absolute heroes” who offered “exemplary care” while working over Christmas.

It was the second Christmas period she has spent in the children’s hospital, some years after one of her daughters was admitted on Christmas Day as a newborn and spent 10 days there.

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