Fever! Fever all through the Night. #OTCSafety

IMG_3804Tis the season — the season of colds, flus, chills and fevers.  If you’re like me the first signs of illness in my child send me into a frenzy.  Like most parents, its hard to watch our children being sick.  Last year my family and I went through a terrifying ordeal when suddenly Marcus spiked fevers over 104.  It didn’t help that he wasn’t the most willing to take his medications.  We struggled back and forth between acetaminophen suppositories and flavored ibuprofen to cool bathes, trying desperately to control the fever to no avail.  The night of day 2 of fighting the fever, I allowed my lethargic and very warm Marcus sleep in bed with me as his only source of comfort  seemed to be snuggling with me.  Around 2am that night, I stirred to a rhythmic but unusual breathing and tapping on my back.  The lights were out, but as I turned around, I already sensed something was very wrong.  Marcus was thrashing.  I quickly threw on the lights to see his eyes fixed, foaming at the mouth and I screamed.  Marcus was having a seizure… it went on to lasting 12 whole minutes before the ambulance arrived.  We later learned after a hospital admission, that he had a febrile seizure.  His rectal temperature read 105.8°.  His final diagnosis was that he had the flu.  Being that he hadn’t had the flu shot because of his egg allergy, he went on to getting a different strain of the flu following his hospitalization, making our fight with fevers an excruciating 3 week ordeal.

Our most natural instinct is to head it off any fever right from the start in fear of watching him have another febrile seizure… but it’s important to step back and evaluate the situation more clearly. One thing I constantly have to remind my husband, who I love dearly and does not have a medical background, is a fever is only a fever if it is over 100.4°.  He has often argued with me that while the thermometer says, for instance, 99.3°, he’s pretty sure he can tag on another degree or two, as if he had taken a rectal temp, without actually taking a rectal temp.  While I am the first to agree with a parent’s gut instinct, I also know what fear can induce in a person.  It is important to also find a thermometer you are comfortable with and stick with one method to chart your child’s illness.  When questioning accuracy, always go with a rectal reading.   When administering medication, it’s always great to keep a small notepad or paper charting the illness, especially if more than one person is involved in the child’s care and multiple medications are being used.  During our 3 week battle with the 2 forms of flu, my husband and in-laws helped to manage his medications around the clock.  It helped to have a chart with the time, temperature and type of medication administered.  I also wrote in bold letters on top, how often each medication could be given (ie. acetaminophen every 4 hours and ibuprofen every 6 hours), and how long it is effective for.  It helped our family stay on top of his fever and made sure he was safe from not only fevers, but medication overdose.  Another point I always tell anyone who will listen, NEVER be afraid to call a doctor anytime, even 2AM in the morning, if you’re not sure.  It’s part of their job description as a pediatrician to be available to you, after all you’re both invested in the well-being of your child.



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{ disclosure:  I receive compensation for my participation in the CHPA educational foundation’s OTC Safety Ambassador program.  However, the content and opinions in this post are my own. }