Fern Britton Discusses Terrifying Sepsis Battle - And Urges Viewers To Look Out For Symptoms

Live on Good Morning Britain, presenter Fern Britton has discussed her terrifying ordeal with sepsis two years ago, which left her on death's door.

The 60-year-old star contracted the illness in July 2016, days after going in to hospital for a hysterectomy.

While she expected to be unwell for some weeks after the intensive operation, she found herself feeling a lot worse than she anticipated - which is when she knew something was wrong.

"I was in so much pain, mostly around here, [my stomach] but going into every joint and every nerve-ending."

Fern urged viewers to pay particular attention if they are feeling unwell after an operation, or even after an injury as small as a cut, graze or insect bite. If you have a fever, or pain in the stomach or joints, you could have contracted the deadly illness.

She said, "If you're at home thinking I'm in all this pain and you've just had some kind of insult to your body where a bug could get in, it could be sepsis. So you must ring your doctor and ask, 'Could this be sepsis?'"

Chatting to Susanna Reid and Kate Garraway, Fern also shared the most terrifying symptom she experienced - the feeling that you're going to die.

She confessed, "Being sick, hot, sweaty, confused – I was in bed thinking, 'I am going to die. I'm dying. I know I'm dying'. This is a very important symptom of sepsis.

"Everybody who gets that ill has in their mind. 'I am going to die.'"

Fern continued to describe the difficult period to the GMB hosts, after revealing that she was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and quickly given antibiotics in order to save her life.

"I then spent another 10 days in hospital, they had to operate on me again to remove all the abscesses through my stomach cavity and I nearly died," she added.

"Thank God for the NHS. I nearly died but I didn't. I'm here."

Two years on from her traumatic illness, Fern - who is married to TV chef Phil Vickery - confessed that she's still not 100% better.

She told the show that her fitness levels have taken a fit because of her health struggles - but that it's improving.

"I am not quite as fit as I was but it's because of that," she said. "But I am getting fitter."

Early symptoms of sepsis to look out for

According to the NHS, a fast heartbeat, fast breathing, chills and a high temperature are all symptoms of sepsis.

Symptoms of a more severe sepsis, or septic shock, can develop quickly after. Symptoms of this can include dizziness, nausea, severe muscle pain, cold, clammy skin, and confusion or disorientation.

If you have any of these symptoms and suspect sepsis, call 999 or head to A&E straight away.

Head to the NHS website for more information.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.