Health & Lifestyle

How bacterial infections can rapidly shut your body down: Madonna’s illness explained in full

Madonna’s family were left ‘preparing for the worst’ after the icon was struck down with a bacterial infection.

The 64-year-old hitmaker was found unconscious in New York on Saturday and then rushed to intensive care where she was reportedly intubated overnight. 

Guy Oseary, her manager, said she was suffering from a ‘serious bacterial infection’. Her epic 80-show world tour, set to begin on July 15, was postponed so she could recover.

While Madonna’s health is improving and a ‘full recovery is expected’, the mother-of-six is still being treated by medics, he said.

It is currently unclear exactly what infection or complications the Michigan-born singer is suffering from, but bacterial infections can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, lungs and blood.

Madonna, in a picture posted to social media on June 23, was rushed to hospital on Saturday. A relative told DailyMail.com they were 'preparing for the worst'

Madonna, in a picture posted to social media on June 23, was rushed to hospital on Saturday. A relative told DailyMail.com they were ‘preparing for the worst’

The singer has three sisters and three surviving brothers - her older brother Anthony, 66, died in February. In this 2021 photo she is seen with their father Silvio, now 92. From left: Paula, Madonna, Jennifer and Melanie

The singer has three sisters and three surviving brothers – her older brother Anthony, 66, died in February. In this 2021 photo she is seen with their father Silvio, now 92. From left: Paula, Madonna, Jennifer and Melanie

While most bacteria are harmless, some can enter the body through an opening in the skin — such as a cut, insect bite or surgical wound. Others get into the body via the airways, eating contaminated food or through sex.

Examples of bacterial infections include strep A, salmonella and impetigo.

Symptoms can include a fever, cough, shortness of breath, sweating and chills, as well as a headache, muscle pain tiredness and chest pain.

But this depends on where the infection occurs. For example, while an infection in the ear may trigger ear pain and difficulty hearing, salmonella can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. 

Antibiotics, which can come in pill, liquid, cream or IV form, are used to treat such infections. 

WHAT IS SEPSIS? 

Sepsis, known as the ‘silent killer’, strikes when an infection such as blood poisoning sparks a violent immune response in which the body attacks its own organs.

It is the leading cause of avoidable death, killing at least 44,000 a year, and the Daily Mail has long campaigned for more awareness.

If caught early, the infection can be controlled by antibiotics before the body goes into overdrive – ultimately leading to death within a matter of minutes.

But the early symptoms of sepsis can be easily confused with more mild conditions, meaning it can be difficult to diagnose. 

Sepsis has similar symptoms to flu, gastroenteritis and a chest infection.

These include:

  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine in a day
  • Severe breathlessness
  • It feels like you are dying
  • Skin mottled or discoloured

Symptoms in children are:

  • Fast breathing
  • Fits or convulsions
  • Mottled, bluish or pale skin
  • Rashes that do not fade when pressed
  • Lethargy
  • Feeling abnormally cold

 

The drugs work by killing the bacteria or stopping them from multiplying. They are powerless against viruses, such as the flu.

While most cases are mild, some untreated bacterial infections can lead to serious complications.

One of the most life-threatening is sepsis. 

It occurs when the immune system, which helps fight-off infections, overreacts to an infection and starts attacking the body’s tissues and organs.

Sepsis, which is notoriously hard to spot because its symptoms can be mistaken for milder illnesses, requires immediate medical treatment because patients can rapidly deteriorate.

Without urgent care, it can lead to septic shock, organ failure and eventually death. This can happen within hours.

Patients may require treatment in intensive care, a machine to help them breathe or surgery to remove areas of infection. Some remain hospitalised for weeks. 

Around 250,000 Brits develop sepsis per year and 52,000 die, according to the Sepsis Trust. 

In the US, there are 1.7million cases per year and 270,000 deaths, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Most patients make a full recovery from sepsis.

However, some are left with long-term issues, including feeling very tired and weak, sleeping difficulties, a lack of appetite, getting ill more often, changes in mood, nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In adults, tell-tale signs of the complication can include slurred speech or confusion, shivering, muscle pain, severe breathlessness and discoloured skin. 

Additionally, bacterial infections can trigger another complication called septicaemia, also known as blood poisoning.

It happens when the body’s immune system is unable to fight off the infection, leading to large amounts of bacteria entering the bloodstream.

Madonna posted this image of herself with her children in 2017. From left, Rocco, David Banda, Mercy James and front, Lourdes and twins Stelle and Estere

Madonna posted this image of herself with her children in 2017. From left, Rocco, David Banda, Mercy James and front, Lourdes and twins Stelle and Estere

The 64-year-old pop icon’s manager Guy Oseary confirmed the news in an Instagram post on Wednesday, revealing that the star was still ‘under medical care’

Madonna and her brother Chris Ciccone are pictured together in March 1995

Madonna and her brother Chris Ciccone are pictured together in March 1995

The 64-year-old popstar's terrifying health scare was shared with the world by her longtime manager Guy Oseary, who revealed on Instagram that Madonna has been forced to postpone her hotly-anticipated 40th anniversary tour as a result of her medical struggles

Madonna had to be ‘rushed to the ICU and intubated’ on Saturday after developing a  bacterial infection that resulted in a days-long hospital stay. She is seen in a June 20 Instagram photo  

It is most likely to occur in older people or young children as they have weaker immune systems.

Symptoms include a fever, extreme tiredness, violent shivering and chills, faintness, pale and clammy skin and rapid and shallow breathing. 

If blood poisoning is detected early enough, it can be treated at home with antibiotics. But sufferers are hospitalised in severe cases and put on IV antibiotics. 

As a result of Madonna’s illness, her family were left unsure of whether she would pull through.

One of her family members told DailyMail.com that the shocking collapse was a wake-up call for Madonna, who believes she is ‘invincible’ and has been pushing herself extremely hard to prepare for the tour.

‘For the past couple of days, no one really knew which direction this was going to turn, and her family was preparing for the worst,’ the relative said.

‘That is why it was kept a secret since Saturday.

‘Everyone believed that we may lose her and that has been the reality of the situation.’

Madonna is mother to six children: Lourdes, 26; Rocco, 22; David, 17; Mercy, 17; and 10-year-old twins Stella and Estere.

Lourdes was by her side throughout her time in hospital, The New York Post reported.

She posts frequent tributes to her 92-year-old father, Silvio Ciccone, and is close to several of her siblings.

Madonna has three sisters – Paula, Melanie and Jennifer – and four brothers: Anthony, Martin, Christopher and Mario.

Anthony died in February from throat cancer and respiratory failure, aged 66.

The Ciccone siblings all keep a low profile, leaving the limelight to their megastar relation. 

The family source told DailyMail.com that her sudden hospitalization united them.

‘All of Madonna’s family members have come together over this,’ the relative said.

And it served as a reminder to the singer that she needed to take care of herself.

‘This really woke her the f*** up.

‘She has not been living as healthy a life as she should be for her age, and she has been wearing herself thin over the past couple of months.

Daughter: Madonna's daughter, Lourdes Leon, 26, remained by her side throughout her hospitalization

Daughter: Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes Leon, 26, remained by her side throughout her hospitalization

The singer's children have not publicly commented on her health scare, however Lourdes shared an image of herself on her Instagram Stories today (seen), while Madonna's son Rocco posted a series of photos of himself on a motorcycle tour in Romania on Monday

The singer's children have not publicly commented on her health scare, however Lourdes shared an image of herself on her Instagram Stories today, while Madonna's son Rocco posted a series of photos of himself on a motorcycle tour in Romania on Monday (seen)

The singer’s children have not publicly commented on her health scare, however Lourdes shared an image of herself on her Instagram Stories today (left), while Madonna’s son Rocco posted a series of photos of himself on a motorcycle tour in Romania on Monday (right)

‘She thinks that she is still young when, in fact, she is not. She also believes that she is invincible.’

Sources close to the singer said she has been working around the clock to ensure that her tour is perfect, with one revealing that she has been rehearsing six days a week.

Another told DailyMail.com in April that she was ‘driving everyone up the wall with her perfectionism’.

At the time the source said that Madonna was ‘in incredible shape’.

The family source said on Wednesday that discussion of her tour is banned from her bedside, because the famously hard-working singer needed to rest.

‘Everything, including this tour, is taking a backseat right now and no one is allowed to even mention anything work related around her because she will lose her s***,’ the relative added.

‘She will put her career and her fame before her health until the day she is dead.’

Madonna’s representatives are yet to comment on the relative’s claims, when asked by DailyMail.com.

The 64-year-old’s health scare was shared with the world by her long-time manager Guy Oseary, who revealed on Instagram that Madonna has been forced to postpone her hotly-anticipated 40th anniversary tour as a result of her medical struggles. 

Oseary insisted in his post that the singer is ‘expected to make a full recovery’ and that her ‘health is improving’, but added that she is ‘still under medical care’.

Read More: World News | Entertainment News | Celeb News

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