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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Lesson #91: It’s Gonna Happen

There’s no way of avoiding it. If your baby’s sick, you’ll soon be sick too.

Mila picked up the bug from her cousin, Ella, who picked it up from either her sister or brother who are school-age. Mila than kindly shared her germs with  Halmoni, (her Korean grandmother), and eventually passed it on to me. Oh what fun!

But the truly sad part of all of this is my poor baby. She gets to the point where she can’t breathe out of her nose, so with mouth open she can’t suck on her binky. It makes for some frequent wakings throughout the night that aren’t so pleasant. She’s not always so cranky, like you would think. It seems to be more of an annoyance than anything else, which is good (if she has to be sick at all). It’s just dragging on for so long and we can’t do much for the poor baby.

I wipe the snot off of her little nose, and kiss her all over her neck and face. It’s really no wonder I picked up her bug and I’m ok with that.