The Flu with a 2yo: What would you do differently?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 01-12-2011, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 34mo dd was sick with the flu last week.  She had a fever over 103 for 8 nights, and was pretty sick for 10 days.  The fevers would spike really quickly, so I used lukewarm baths (my normal fever strategy) and kept alternating motrin and tylenol every 4 hours or so ...  if I would delay giving her the preemptive dose the fever would shoot up way high really fast and make her miserable before the next dose could kick in.  Her fever did spike up to 104.0 at one point.  The fourth day of high fever we took her to urgent care (we were traveling so couldn't go to our regular pediatrician)... they did the test and said she had the flu, the regular one not the swine one, and some other virus too, probably pharyngitis.  They told us to continue what we were doing and let the virus run its course.  Her other symptoms were pretty minor... slight runny nose, slight cough, some cold chills, not wanting to do much, no apetite.  She refused to drink fluids, despite the wide variety of options I offered (juices, warm cider, ice pops, cold water, warm water, pedialyte, sparkling cider, herbal teas, emergen-c) and only wanted breastmilk (my supply seems pretty low these days, so she probably wasn't getting much).  So I was worried about dehydration... one day she only urinated twice in 24 hours.  My nieces were sick for a few days before dd, and I'm pretty sure dd got it from them... they had had the flu shot, so it must not have affected them as badly. 

 

I'd love some ideas of what I could have done differently.  DD has thankfully always been healthy and had never used tylenol or motrin (or any other medicine for that matter) before this, and I generally believe that fever is a great thing our body does for us and do not use medicines.  BUT 103 is scary.  104 shook me to the core.  So I went to the drug store.  Are there other things I could/should do if there's a next time?

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#2 of 8 Old 01-12-2011, 06:51 PM
 
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The only thing I would have done differently is let the fever run its course without preemptively striking with the meds. But then again, I'm okay with 103 and 104.0 fevers, HOWEVER I've got several kids so I'm not in panic mode nowadays like I was with my first! smile.gif

I've always heard to judge the child by how they act and not how high the fever is, so if my child is utterly miserable with a 101.5 fever, I'll medicate, but with even a 104 fever I'll let things be if the other symptoms are minor. So in your child's case, since you said the other symptoms were minor, I'd have let her be....
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#3 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The only thing I would have done differently is let the fever run its course without preemptively striking with the meds. But then again, I'm okay with 103 and 104.0 fevers, HOWEVER I've got several kids so I'm not in panic mode nowadays like I was with my first! smile.gif

I've always heard to judge the child by how they act and not how high the fever is, so if my child is utterly miserable with a 101.5 fever, I'll medicate, but with even a 104 fever I'll let things be if the other symptoms are minor. So in your child's case, since you said the other symptoms were minor, I'd have let her be....


Yes, preemptively giving the medicines on a schedule, BEFORE the last dose wore off and BEFORE her temperature had started going up, felt totally wrong to me.  But then when I wouldn't do that, when the medicine did wear off, the temp went up so fast into the upper 103s and dd would be miserable... she'd just want to lay down and would barely talk with me till the new dose kicked in an hour later.  I'm a nervous mom of only one though, and high fevers scare me!  I have a grown uncle who (I've been told) suffered brain damage when he was a baby due to a high fever. 

 

I do wonder if giving her meds to bring the fever down inhibited her body in fighting the flu off... and is why it took her 10 long days to get over it.

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#4 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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If it were me, I wouldn't use tylenol or ibuprofen at all.  But it's taken quite a while, and a lot of lurking here, to figure out what to do instead--I don't want to leave them miserable, so it took a lot of reading to figure out other stuff that just helps them heal faster.  Through trial and error, I've figured out some short-term and long-term things that help us deal with illnesses better...

 

short-term (when you're already sick, I mean):

-ferr phos, the cell salt (check out the cell salt thread, I am so impressed with those... there are other salts for later in illnesses, or other specific ailments, but there are only 12 salts in all)

-vitamin C to bowel tolerance (I use the sodium ascorbate form, it's gentle on the stomach and it got DS through a whole lot of illnesses when he was young, made them a lot less intense)

-zinc (I need to give it all the time, but quite a few people who don't do that just add it in when their kids or they are sick and it helps)

-avoiding the foods we're intolerant of... a lot of people do better by avoiding dairy when they're sick, we avoid ours all the time but I think it's especially helpful when they're sick... consider wheat too, much as that's a pain

 

longer-term (addressing this stuff beforehand seems to reduce either the # or intensity of our illnesses):

-vitamin D, after supplementing for 6 months, I think we were in a much better place (I think we started out fairly low)

-gut health (we got sick more often when our digestion was off, for us it's veggie ferments like kimchee that make our digestion happy, plus avoiding the foods we're intolerant of)

 

In terms of the actual temperature... I don't take them anymore.  I ramp up or down on the supportive stuff based on how they look and how they're acting.  When my son was little, he didn't run fevers and it seems like his immune system is a lot better now--not just because he runs fevers now, but he seems to deal with illness better now. 

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#5 of 8 Old 01-13-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Anastasiya View Post

The only thing I would have done differently is let the fever run its course without preemptively striking with the meds. But then again, I'm okay with 103 and 104.0 fevers, HOWEVER I've got several kids so I'm not in panic mode nowadays like I was with my first! smile.gif

I've always heard to judge the child by how they act and not how high the fever is, so if my child is utterly miserable with a 101.5 fever, I'll medicate, but with even a 104 fever I'll let things be if the other symptoms are minor. So in your child's case, since you said the other symptoms were minor, I'd have let her be....


Yes, preemptively giving the medicines on a schedule, BEFORE the last dose wore off and BEFORE her temperature had started going up, felt totally wrong to me.  But then when I wouldn't do that, when the medicine did wear off, the temp went up so fast into the upper 103s and dd would be miserable... she'd just want to lay down and would barely talk with me till the new dose kicked in an hour later.  I'm a nervous mom of only one though, and high fevers scare me!  I have a grown uncle who (I've been told) suffered brain damage when he was a baby due to a high fever. 

 

I do wonder if giving her meds to bring the fever down inhibited her body in fighting the flu off... and is why it took her 10 long days to get over it.


I know it's super hard to get over the fear of fever.  But I wanted to mention that using fever reducers such as Tylenol and Motrin actually can cause febrile seizures, because the seizures are actually not caused by how high the fever goes, but by a quickly spiking fever, which often happens just as you described, when a dose of Tylenol or Motrin wears off.  I used to medicate for fevers and the illnesses would drag on and on.  Last time my DS was sick, he had a fever that hovered around 103 for 1 day/night.  I did not treat it with anything other than homeopathics, aconite when it first came on for one dose, then ferrum phos.  The ferrum phos made him much more comfortable...he would even ask me, "Mom, I think it's time to give me more of those little white things," when he needed a new dose.  His fever lasted 24 hours and was gone the next day, that had never happened when I used to medicate fevers.  Another reason that medicating a fever now terrifies me more than a fever itself, is the research I have done that shows that a fever is part of a complicated pathway in the body fighting off the illness.  Once you give Tylenol or Motrin, that pathway breaks down and you are in essence opening the door for whatever virus or bacteria is causing the fever to now get a more firm foothold in the body and possibly wreak a lot of havoc.  Once I understood that, my fear of fever was gone.  I can't really imagine a situation where I would medicate for a fever now.  It scares me too much.
 


Mama to 2 sweet gorgeous children, a 4-year-old DS and a 1-year-old DD.
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#6 of 8 Old 01-14-2011, 05:17 AM
 
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Yes, preemptively giving the medicines on a schedule, BEFORE the last dose wore off and BEFORE her temperature had started going up, felt totally wrong to me.  But then when I wouldn't do that, when the medicine did wear off, the temp went up so fast into the upper 103s and dd would be miserable... she'd just want to lay down and would barely talk with me till the new dose kicked in an hour later.  I'm a nervous mom of only one though, and high fevers scare me!  I have a grown uncle who (I've been told) suffered brain damage when he was a baby due to a high fever. 

 

I do wonder if giving her meds to bring the fever down inhibited her body in fighting the flu off... and is why it took her 10 long days to get over it.



 


See, I don't consider lying around exhausted and not wanting to talk anything worth medicating over. That's par for the course with illness and fever.

The ONLY time I medicate these days is if there is intolerable pain...like horrible teething, earache, etc. Never just because someone's sick and has a fever. FWIW, the highest we've had here is 104.3, and brain damage doesn't even start to occur till 107. A healthy person's body won't let a fever get that high, anyway.

I know when I had my first too I panicked at nearly everything! And sickness hung around a long time, too. Now when we let illness run its course, it lasts just a few days at the most.

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#7 of 8 Old 01-14-2011, 09:41 PM
 
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Another reason that medicating a fever now terrifies me more than a fever itself, is the research I have done that shows that a fever is part of a complicated pathway in the body fighting off the illness.  Once you give Tylenol or Motrin, that pathway breaks down and you are in essence opening the door for whatever virus or bacteria is causing the fever to now get a more firm foothold in the body and possibly wreak a lot of havoc.  

 


angelachristin, do you remember where you read this? I know fever is an important part of healing but I'd like to learn more :)


Joanna WAHM to DS 10/2007
You must be the change you wish to see - Ghandi
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#8 of 8 Old 01-14-2011, 10:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by treehugz View Post

 

Yes, preemptively giving the medicines on a schedule, BEFORE the last dose wore off and BEFORE her temperature had started going up, felt totally wrong to me.  But then when I wouldn't do that, when the medicine did wear off, the temp went up so fast into the upper 103s and dd would be miserable... she'd just want to lay down and would barely talk with me till the new dose kicked in an hour later.  I'm a nervous mom of only one though, and high fevers scare me!  I have a grown uncle who (I've been told) suffered brain damage when he was a baby due to a high fever. 

 

I do wonder if giving her meds to bring the fever down inhibited her body in fighting the flu off... and is why it took her 10 long days to get over it.


This may have been said, but letting the meds wear off and allowing the fever to spike is what can cause a febrile seizure and is NOT safe to do. Also, lukewarm baths for a 104 fever are too COLD. The bath should be a normal bath temp (97-98) and THAT will feel lukewarm to the feverish child.  A too cool bath will reduce the fever and allow it to quickly rise afterward, also a high risk for a seizure.

 

I know it's hard when there was a bad occurence with someone you know. Do you know what exactly your uncle had had?  Almost always, the body is self limiting with fevers unless it's related to poisoning or sunstroke, not run of the mill viruses.

 

This is a great article on distilling fears about fevers. http://vran.org/alternatives/alternatives-general/is-fear-of-fever-hurting-our-children/

 

Like others said, I go based on how DS behaves. He ran a 104 fever a couple weeks ago and I watched it but didn't treat it. He was a little fussy and a lot more cuddly, but I felt no compulsion to take the fever down by medicine. If he started to seem miserable, I'd give some fever reducer to give comfort but let the fever still run at a lower temp for his comfort only. The body is self-limiting with fevers and it's healthy, not unsafe, to let the fever run.  The fever is the means our bodies have to recover from illness. I gave him D, C, bone broth, etc to help his immune system do its job.

 

Glad you asked!! smile.gif I'm sure it wasn't fun having a LO sick that long.


Alicia, wife to an loving and faithful DH, and mama to three fantastic though nutty children (cs, then an HBAC, then a VBAC!!).
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