Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Magic 105.4

Sounds like an awesome new radio station right? I wish. That was my poor daughter's temperature at 4am the other morning. Here's how not to freak out.

I'm pretty calm about health care issues. I have a lot of medical knowledge and I'm not scared easily. I used to walk cardiac ICU patients down the hall with chest tubes, using a crash cart as their walker. I'm not nervous about a little fever. That being said. When Yannos told me our 8 month old had a temperature of 105.4, it was hard to stay cool.

First, I asked if he was serious. 3 times. (Right, because that's something people joke about. Ha ha - our child has a horrible fever!)

Then I walked around in 5 circles trying to figure out what I was going to next. Call the pediatrician? Call my mom? Call 911? Go to the ER? Give her medicine? Cry and panic?

Step number one - give the baby some medicine.

Get that stuff in their system as quickly as possible. Our mistake was not waking her up to make her take medicine. We thought it was better for her to get rest, but delaying her dose of Tylenol for 2 hours is something I would go back and change. The ER doctor said if you are alternating between acetaminophen and ibuprofen than you can do every 3 hours since acetaminophen is 4-6 and ibuprofen is 6-8. If you are starting out with no medication in their system, then you can actually give both at the same time.

Step number two - call the pediatrician.

Even if it is 4am. I was actually trying to convince myself not to call the doctor. I'm some kind of stupid. I think emergency rooms should be used for emergencies. She was maintaining normal behavior with no red flags (besides burning me when I held her) and a smiling baby who is eating well, having normal bodily functions, with no other symptoms didn't seem like an emergent situation. The pediatrician begged to differ - especially since she had no other symptoms.

Step number three - cool the baby down

High fevers can cause seizures. Really high fevers can cause brain damage. As a physical therapist, I'm unfortunately too aware of this. I have treated many children with disabilities resulting from fever complications during their first year of life. We started with a cool washcloth on her chest/belly. We did this while I nursed her and were waiting the 20 minutes for the pediatrician to call back.

Other Tips:
  • Watch your baby. If she is acting normally then you don't need to panic. Behavior is much more important than number.
  • I took the time to pack some food before we headed to the ER. I've had my share of ER trips (thanks MS) and I'm always there for a long time. It was worth the 3 minutes to throw some cereal bars and fruit in a bag. I appreciated it 2 hours later. 
  • I also took the time to grab one of her favorite toys. It seemed silly, but it helped distract her when they had to use a catheter to collect a urine sample (the only way to check for UTI/kidney infection in babies). 
  • I kept her in her footed jammies which turned out to be a pain since they had to take her temp, use a catheter to collect urine, and put the bracelet around her ankle. Next ER trip - she'll wear a shirt and leggings, so I can keep her covered up, but they can take her diaper on and off.

Oh right, why Magic 105.4? Because even with this fever Zoe still gave us smiles, 'talked' to the triage nurses, and cooed at the ER doctor. See, magic.

Bummer! Yannos just informed me that radio station call numbers always end in an odd number.

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