Hannah Waddingham recalls daughter’s 'horrific' health scare: What is Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP)?

Image of Hannah Waddingham in July 2022, she has recalled her daughter's sudden illness. (Getty Images)
Hannah Waddingham has recalled an experience when her daughter fell ill suddenly five years ago. (Getty Images) (David Livingston via Getty Images)

Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham has reflected on her daughter's "horrific" health scare, explaining she couldn't talk about it "for a very long time".

The British actor, 48, was left terrified five years ago when her daughter, Kitty, who was three at the time, suddenly fell ill and had to be hospitalised.

Recalling the period, Waddingham says her daughter Kitty was diagnosed with the rare immune-mediated condition Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP).

HSP, according to the NHS is a disorder that causes inflammation and bleeding in the small blood vessels, resulting in rashes and sore joints.

"I can talk about it now," she tells People, "but I couldn't for a very long time. She was in the hospital for a while with them not knowing what it was."

Read more: Jason Watkins highlights key sepsis symptoms after daughter’s death – what is the condition?

Hannah Waddingham pictured in March 2023. (Getty Images)
Waddingham says her daughter had Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP). (Getty Images) (Steve Granitz via Getty Images)

Waddingham previously spoke about her daughter's illness on Yahoo UK's White Wine Question Time podcast, with the star describing the disorder as "horrific".

The single mum detailed some of the symptoms her daughter was experiencing, explaining that she'd woken up vomiting and with "all these giraffe splats and brown" on her legs, which she said was the capillaries bursting on her daughter's legs.

The actor was in Belfast filming at the time and struggled to get home to be with her daughter. After finally getting to see Kitty in hospital the following day, Waddingham said she informed her management that she could no longer be away from her child.

"I am first and foremost a mum, and more importantly a single mum," she told her agents over a conference call.

The actor said she was thankful her daughter is now better, but has been told it will lay dormant in her system until she is about 10.

Watch: Hannah Waddingham says her 'Ted Lasso' role 'changed' her life

Waddingham believe's her daughter's experience of HSP, led to her auditioning for the role of Rebecca Welton in Ted Lasso as she recalls standing in the garden looking up to the sky and asking for a role that would allow her to stay close to her daughter.

"I'm not joking within two months the audition came in for Ted Lasso which was shooting 40 minutes away from my house," she added.

Read more: Paddy McGuinness says his depression was spotted by ex-wife Christine: 'I wasn't aware of it'

Waddingham pictured in 2022. She has discussed her daughter's illness. (Getty Images)
Waddingham believes her daughter's illness may have indirectly lead to her role in Ted Lasso. (Getty Images) (Allen Berezovsky via Getty Images)

What is Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP)?

HSP a rare, immune-mediated condition where small blood vessels called capillaries become inflamed and damaged, producing a rash on the skin called ’purpura’.

Henoch-Schönlein purpura is not very common, with only between 8 and 20 in 100,000 people will develop HSP each year.

HSP mostly affects children with 9 out of 10 cases happening in children between the ages of 2-10 years. But HSP can also affect older children and adults. It is more common in boys than in girls.

While it isn't known exactly what causes HSP, it typically seems to follow on from a viral or bacterial infection such as a cold or respiratory tract infection.

HSP is not an inherited disease and is not contagious.

Read more: Christine McGuinness on co-parenting with estranged husband Paddy: 'Always be a family'

According to the NHS the main symptom of HSP is a rash of raised red or purple spots. The spots look like small bruises or blood spots.

Other symptoms can include tummy aches and pains which can be severe, but sufferers can also experience painful and swollen joints due to inflammation. This usually affects the knees and ankles.

Though there is no specific treatment for HSP, symptoms will usually abate within several weeks of rest and recuperation.

Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be given to relieve any joint pains, while steroids may be used in children with severe symptoms, particularly bad tummy pain or kidney damage.

Great Ormond Street says HSP does not usually cause long-term problems with most children making a full recovery, although relapses (usually milder than the first attack) can occur in about half of the children in the following months.