Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Getting warmer, warmer, uh-oh, burning up!

The Biscuit has had so many incidents of fever in his short life. From below average readings (96 - 98) all the way up to 105. I feel like a pro when it comes to fever management. I'm sure there are a few WOWZAs out there seeing the 105 (and yes, I'm probably the only 1 left who still says wowza), so I have to explain that the 105 fever was associated with a trip to the hospital via AMBULANCE (no fun for a mommy or a baby) that occurred when the Biscuit had RSV. (This is the 2nd time I've mentioned the RSV event in this blog so you can count on that to be posted next). But, I (as usual) digress... back to the hot topic.

The Biscuit was sick this past weekend with what I later found out to be a stomach virus that was going around. He had a mild fever and was throwing up all night long. His fever was so mild (100 or so) I didn't even bother to do much about it. Frankly, the throwing up was the immediate worry for both of us.

The next day, however, his hurling ceased while the fever persisted. So I treated the fever as I normally do. First course of action: dose of ibuprofen. Now, I am not a medical doctor (though I probably should have been and goodness knows it would've been helpful right now with the turmoil going on in financial services industry) so take my advice or not, but always use your best judgment and consult your doctor too. Dr. Spock has some thoughts on fever management you can read about if interested.

When the Biscuit has a fever, here is the traditional course of action that I take:

Dose of ibuprofen (repeated every 6-8 hours until fever breaks); my doctor told me that ibuprofen works better on fevers. It is CRUCIAL that you give your child the correct dosage. Too much is bad and too little may make it ineffective at these critical times, which has happened to me. The Biscuit is a chunky boy so I ask my doctor every 6 months or so what the proper dosage is. If the Biscuit's fever doesn't go down at all, I'll do the following:

  1. TLC
  2. Take off all clothing, except a pull-up, diaper, undies (whatever); clothing keeps the heat in
  3. Offer a drink of water/juice (ideally, offer room temperature liquids b/c the body has to burn energy to get the temp of the liquid to that of the body BUT the Biscuit is NEVER in the mood to drink anything when he has a fever so the ONLY thing I am able to lure him to drink during fever time is a cool juice box)
  4. Cool washcloth on the forehead, back of the neck, or top of head
  5. Turn on a cool fan, turn down the A/C
  6. Dose of Tylenol. This is a bit controversial, so definitely talk to your doctor. Advice I have gotten from another toddler mommy and my doctor was to wait the 20 mins or so to see if the ibuprofen is working. If it doesn't start to lower the fever, give the appropriate dose of Tylenol. You can keep the 2 going (alternating) as long as you keep to the 4-6 hours for Tylenol and 6-8 for ibuprofen. I ONLY do this when there is a high need to get the fever down quickly.

So those are the basic tips I have to share. Fevers can be scary but if you have the checklist in your head, it's easier to think it through before rushing to the ER in the middle of the night. I think we, as parents, tend to know whether our toddler is OK and just fighting a fever or in trouble. I am more confident in my ability to help the Biscuit through a fever after dealing with him in the worst of circumstances. When the Biscuit had RSV, I held his lethargic, labored-breathing body in my arms as he fought a 103 fever that escalated to 105 in less than 2 hours.

I now know when a 103 fever is just a fever that I can bring down and when he is in trouble and needs medical intervention. Fortunately, all parents haven't had the same desperate circumstances. My rule of thumb is that I always give it an hour following all of the above and if it hasn't gone down at all... I may call the doctor (if it has gone up and hits 103 and rising I'm on my way to the urgent care center).

The body is a magical thing and fevers are a natural way for it to fight off infection. TLC is an amazing remedy and nothing beats the magic that "mommy hold me" can do. Good luck with your little ones as we enter Flu season.


Anonymous said...

My little "biscuit" has had his share of fevers as well and what always went along with the fevers that got us, mommy and daddy, terrified were these little tremors called "rigors". Rigors, as we have found out, is harmless and just the natural way for the body to shiver and cope with the fever. Unfortnately, trying to explain that to a little one who has a tremor and then is scared of it because something weird happened to his body he couldn't control just about did me in.

While we got used to the way his body coped with the fever - in addition to all the tips you mention - we had several trips to the ER thinking that he was having seizures. Not fun!

I have another little one now who has yet to have the high fevers but I'm waiting...and waiting to see if she has to learn to cope the same way my other little one has to cope - Because then mommy and daddy will need to really calm ourselves down and learn that this too shall pass!

Anonymous said...

Good post!

- Mr. Farrad

MamaCat said...

a friend also recommended a popsicle, if the juice box is refused