Lesson #131: Down With The Sickness

It’s one thing to be sick and miserable. It’s an entirely different level of miserable to see your baby sick.

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Right after Mila’s birthday party, (July 14), she ended up sick. I didn’t realize it right away – I thought she was just exhausted or teething and being clingy. I remember being home with her and she crawled up to me, curled into a little ball and cuddled. We laid there like that while she napped.

I soon figured out she was really warm – I mean hot! I took her temperature, which was just over 102 degrees and began to worry. I gave her Tylenol and it helped bring the fever down. I thought for sure she was teething.

When we went to her 12-month doctor’s appointment, I told him about this, how we brought the fever down and how soon after she had a rash all over her body. I told him my teething theory and he said nope! She caught something. He said that the rash is a good sign – it showed that whatever it was had gotten out of her system. My goodness! I felt horrible, like I let my baby suffer. The doctor reassured me that there wasn’t anything else I could have done for her and that I had done the right thing. I also asked, (because I had heard), if a fever of 104 degrees was when we needed to worry, call the doctor or bring her to the ER. He said it’s really up to us; whenever we are worried, that’s when we call.

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Not too long ago, when the season was changing from summer into autumn, Mila began to get a stuffy and runny nose – and so did I. It seemed strange to me that this wasn’t coupled with coughing or sneezing or irritability – some sign of a cold.

Around this time of year I get this annoying post-nasal drip that wakes me up and makes it difficult to sleep at all. I spoke to the pharmacist, who suggested an allergy medication like Claritin or Zyrtec, to help dry out my sinuses, (avoid the “D”s – the decongestant will have the adverse effect). After years of attempting various unsuccessful remedies, this one actually worked.

So it got me thinking: has this been allergies all along? I thought back over the years and found all the common symptoms came around the same time every year – and they didn’t go away after a week, somethings it took weeks or would even linger a month.

I started to research and found that if your mucus is clear, it’s allergies. If it’s not, (if it’s yellow or green), then you’re sick.  Turns out Mila and I both had a case of the allergies. Good to know.

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How can I tell if my child has nasal allergies or just a cold?

Because the symptoms of nasal allergies are much like cold symptoms – runny nose, watery eyes, cough, nasal congestion, sneezing – it can be tough to tell the difference. There are some telltale signs of allergies, though.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it seem like your child always has a cold? Colds usually wind down in a week to ten days; allergies don’t.
  • Is your child’s nose continually stuffy or running?
  • Is she constantly wiggling, wiping, or pushing her nose up in what doctors call the allergic salute?
  • Is the mucus that drains from her nose clear and thin (as opposed to yellow or greenish and thick)?
  • Does she seem to sneeze a lot?
  • Are her eyes itchy, red, and watery?
  • Does the skin under her eyes look dark or purple or blue – what doctors call allergic shiners?
  • Does she breathe through her mouth?
  • Does she have a persistent dry cough?
  • Is her skin irritated or broken out in an itchy red rash?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, there’s a good chance your child is allergic to something in her environment. Kids with nasal allergies are also more prone to ear infectionsasthma, and sinus infections.

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