It’s been an interesting last few days here and I am finally able to take some time to share our experience. Last Friday, Diego woke up with a fever. It wasn’t until after breakfast that I noticed that he felt a little warm. I took his temperature and it was at 101.5 F, I gave him some Advil even though he didn’t seem to be feeling ill. His fever came down but went back up after his nap. Because his next dose of medication wasn’t until six o’clock I stripped him down to his diaper at around four o’clock when I rechecked his temperature and it was back to 101.5 F. After dinner at around six o’clock I gave him another dose of Advil and took him upstairs for a bath. When I checked his temperature that time it had jumped to 103.8 F. That scared me and I told my husband we should take him to the Emergency Room.
We quickly got him dressed and ready to go. At this point just the mere thought of taking to the hospital sent me into a panic attack. It was possibly the worst one I’ve ever had in my life. Thankfully, there is a hospital right across the street from us and it took us all of five minutes to get there. My husband dropped me off at the entrance and I made my way inside. Because the emergency room is undergoing an expansion it was quite a walk to the temporary emergency room entrance. At least it felt like a long walk to me in my anxious, panicked state. There is something about hospital hallways that always makes them feel miles long.
After entering some basic information into their sign-in computer we waited about five minutes before being seen by a triage nurse. While I waited my husband managed to get into the actual emergency room and wondered why I wasn’t in the pediatric unit. It turns out he followed some firemen in through a door he should have never walked through. Once he made it to the waiting room we were called back almost immediately. Diego’s temperature had risen to 104.5 F. They took him to a bed right away where a doctor examined him. She told us that he was alert and looking good so she wanted to draw some blood, get a urine sample and take a chest x-ray.
The hardest part of our hospital visit was having to watch them insert a catheter. It’s the only way for them to obtain a urine sample since you can’t ask Diego to give you a sample of urine. He screamed so hard and got so upset that he has broken capillaries around his eyes.
The doctor told us that he suspected it could be Roseola, a type of herpes virus that commonly affects children between the ages of six months and two years of age. It is characterised by a sudden high fever followed by a rash once the fever breaks. He explained that the rash is what confirms that it’s Roseola. The bloodwork showed that Diego’s white blood cell count was a little low which made him suspect a viral infection. However, because the urine and blood culture results wouldn’t be ready for a while he started Diego on antibiotics and prescribed him Augmentin for ten days.
We left the hospital relieved, tired, and shaken up. We were there for about three and a half hours. Not bad in my opinion.
Diego’s fever did not rise to higher than 102 F following our visit to the emergency room. On Saturday he decided that the Advil we gave him was disgusting and threw up as soon as I gave it to him. It has been the only time he’s ever thrown up. Instead of trying to force him to drink it again I decided to give him a bath in order to bring his temperature down. While he hung out with my husband I went to the pharmacy to fill his prescription and to get some suppositories.
He was very cranky and irritable that afternoon which is out of character for him. He cried off and on for about an hour. Nothing consoled him. Finally, we put him in his stroller and took him on a walk around our neighborhood. He really liked that and perked up considerably. His fever broke on Sunday and shortly afterwards the rash started to appear.
Today, I took him to see his pediatrician for a follow-up appointment. He confirmed that it is Roseola and took him off the antibiotics. Something I was grateful for since the Augmentin gave Diego pretty bad diarrhea. He was in disagreement with the emergency room physician that prescribed it since there was no indication of a bacterial infection.
What this experience has taught me:
This is the first time that Diego has actually gotten considerably ill. He’s had the sniffle a time or two but nothing like this. As a first time parent I have to say it was pretty scary. In my mind a fever is a horrible thing but I’ve learned that it’s really just the body’s natural response to infection. My fear of febrile seizures was incorrectly focused on how high the fever was rather than the speed at which it rises. That is what causes febrile seizures- the rapid increase in temperature. If Diego was going to have them he would have before I ever took his temperature.
Even though his illness is fairly benign I do not regret the decision to take him to the hospital. In a situation like that I believe in going with your gut. I didn’t even think to call his doctor. I just knew I needed to get him medical attention as soon as possible. Would I react the same in the future? Probably not. Unless Diego is listless and run down I don’t think I would feel the same way about a high temperature like that.
Parenthood is one of those things that you learn by doing, experience is your teacher. No matter how much you read and educate yourself on anything you will freak out when it actually happens. Once you learn how your child reacts to different things you will be able to better decide when to grow concerned. Even so, seeing your child ill is not easy and I don’t think it gets any easier.
For more information on Roseola please visit the MayoClinic.
Please note that nothing that I have expressed here is to be constituted as medical advice. This is just a recount of my experience. Please contact your doctor with any questions and concerns. The internet is a wonderful resource but can also be a mine of misinformation. Please do not use it as a self-diagnosis tool.