A man nearly died after drinking double the recommended daily amount of water – in a bid to cure suspected coronavirus.
Luke Williamson, 34, flushed almost all the natural sodium from his body by taking on too much fluid – and it nearly proved fatal.
The civil servant thought he was suffering with Covid-19 during the first lockdown so began drinking four to five litres of water a day.
But the increased volume caused water intoxication, meaning his body’s salt levels became dangerously low – leading to a collapse in the bathroom.
Luke believes it was only the quick reactions of his wife Laura, 39, that saved his life during the incident at their home in Patchway, Bristol.
She talked to him through the bathroom door to keep him conscious until paramedics arrived.
Luke said: “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here. She stayed calm and called the ambulance, and sat on the floor with me behind the door.”
Laura added: “He had been very poorly for a week and advised to drink plenty of fluids.
“He went up to have a bath one night and, the next thing you know, there was a huge bang. He had got out and collapsed.
“The hospital reckon he had a fit. This was down to his salt levels being flushed out by drinking too much water. That’s what caused it.
“I went upstairs but couldn’t get in [to the bathroom]. I couldn’t get a neighbour round either, because it was lockdown.
“I called an ambulance. It was 45 minutes [before it arrived]. Luke was completely unresponsive for the last 20 minutes.
“I was talking to him through the door and he was grunting before. I was really worried I had lost him.”
Laura said paramedics arrived and took Luke to Southmead Hospital – when she was told it was touch and go.
She added: “They said they couldn’t make me any promises. I couldn’t go [in] because of Covid-19 restrictions.
“They said the next 24 hours were critical. He was in the intensive care unit for two to three days – he was on a ventilator.
“The hospital staff were brilliant. They did some tests and corrected his electrolytes. Then he could come home.”
Luke is now on his way back to full health and starts work again full-time in the coming months.
Laura said: “He still gets tired. He had six months off work, signed off. When he first went back he did four hours, then six hours.
“They have let him go back that way. He usually does 12-hour shifts.”
Doctors have concluded Luke had water intoxication having drunk too much water and flushed the sodium out of his body, leading to swelling of the brain.
He estimates he had been drinking four to five litres a day. The recommended amount is six to eight glasses.
Luke is now sharing his story as he wants Laura to be recognised for her actions, both at the time and as he got better.
The couple have four children, who needed help with their homeschooling during the lockdowns.
Laura kept this up while also providing mental health support and helping to arrange food parcel donations for struggling families for her job.
She has since left her role as a youth worker and will soon begin working as a teaching assistant in a local school.
Luke, who has nominated his wife in a local ‘Covid Heroes’ campaign, added: “She is truly an amazing woman.”