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4-Year-Old Catches Deadly Infection After Trying on Shoes Barefoot

Photograph by Jodie Thomas

As we round out the back-to-school shopping season, a mom of three has a lifesaving piece of advice she hopes parents will use: Never let your children try on shoes barefoot.

When Jodie Thomas took her daughter, Sienna, to get new shoes, she didn't think to carry socks with her. The 4-year-old was wearing sandals on the hot summer day, and she'd tried on different sizes and styles with her bare feet.

Thomas told the Sun that the day after, her daughter's temperature was raging, and the child was shaking and twitching. She drove Sienna straight to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed sepsis, which is the body’s extreme immune response to an infection that can damage tissue and organs. If not treated quickly, sepsis can lead to organ failure and death.

Photograph by Jodie Thomas

Doctors think that Sienna might have picked up an infection from the bacteria in the shoes, probably from an open wound, like a graze or bite on her foot, before it turned septic and spread to her legs.

"For all parents, please put socks on your children while trying new shoes on. I'm guilty not doing it for mine and myself, but this can be the outcome infection spreading throughout the body," Thomas wrote on Facebook, including photos of the infection. She added that you don't know whose feet have been in them before yours.

Doctors managed to drain the pus from her daughter's leg and put her on an antibiotic drip for five days in the hospital. Though she's still being monitored at home, Sienna has thankfully recovered.

This frightening incident is a good reminder that sepsis can strike anyone with an infection at any time, and it's important to seek medical attention immediately if there are signs of infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.7 million people get sepsis in the U.S. each year, and about 270,000 die from it. Signs of sepsis include a high heart rate, fever, shivering or feeling cold, shortness of breath and extreme pain or discomfort.

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