My toddler has a history of spiking fevers. When she was 9 months old, she had her first 105 fever that lead to febril seizures. As a first time mom, I had no idea what was wrong with my baby, and if she would be okay. I had taken her to the doctor earlier in the day, and he thought that she just had a simple virus at the time. He instructed to give her ibuprofen and if her fever went up in between treatment times, then I was able to give her acetaminophen as well. I was able to control her fever at home, giving her cool sponge baths and medicine.
I took her temperature after she woke from a nap and it was at 103. It was time for meds, so I gave her the normal dosage, which she threw up within 10 minutes. At that point, I wasn’t sure if the medicine was in her system and called the doctor. He asked me to take her temperature while I was on the phone with him and she peaked at 105. I started to panic and asked him if I should take her to the emergency room. Her pediatrician was fast acting and assured me that she didn’t need a hospital and she could be treated in his office.
At his office we found out that she had a urinary tract infection which may sound surprising but is actually very common in diapered babies. The reason is that their urethra is very short, so bacteria can enter very easy, especially when they are in diapers. He gave her a shot of antibiotic and she was better within 15 minutes.
A few months later, she ended up with Roseola. If you are familiar with this virus, then you know that it has a tendency to spike high fevers even while your child seems fine and acts normal. Since we already experienced high fevers in my little girl, we were cautious but not as scared. My husband and I both felt better equipped with knowledge on how to handle high fevers.
It seemed that after her first birthday, which is also when I stopped breastfeeding her, she contracted virus after virus. We often cancelled play dates and birthday parties because it seemed that she was always sick. After her second birthday, she was much better and rarely got so much as a cold. A few weeks ago she had her first double ear infection and just yesterday she became ill again. Although we know that my little one has a tendency to spike fevers, anything over 103 is scary. “They” say that high fevers in children may not be dangerous, but when your usually active child is laying on the couch, unable to speak- then you worry.
I called her pediatrician when her fever reached 103 and she was not responding to fever reducers. The doctor who was filling in for him while on vacation didn’t feel there was an urgency and just instructed me that I had to be more creative in getting medicine into my child. I felt that she didn’t hear a word I said, so I repeated myself. Her response was to “trick” my child into taking medicine. Ok, maybe I’m not saying this properly. “My toddler is NOT RESPONDING to medicine. I gave her ibuprofen three hours ago and acetaminophen an hour ago and her fever is still at 103, she is lethargic and is in and out of consciousness. She is not due for any more fever reducers. WHAT DO I DO?” Again, her response was to get my child to take more meds and told me that as a last resort I could “pinch the child’s nose and squirt medicine in her mouth.” All I heard was “you are ruining my Sunday and I cannot help you.”
I really didn’t want to take my tot to the ER and tried to bring her fever down myself. I stuck her in the bathtub and within a half hour her fever dropped. I felt much better but feared for night time where I knew her fever might spike again. By 6pm her fever shot up to 105 while on fever reducers and I packed up both kids and headed to a local pediatric urgent care. By the time we got there, her meds started working and her fever came down to 103. They couldn’t find a source of infection but instructed us to just keep doing what we were doing. Since she only had the fever for one day, they didn’t feel the need to run any more tests and told us to follow up if she had a fever for more than 48 hours.
Today she is doing better and thankfully her pediatrician is in today. I’m not sure if there is much he can do, as this may just be something that will run its course and clear up on its own- which it typical of viruses. It seems that no matter how experienced you are with fevers, feeling helpless is just a normal part of parenting. It’s all part of the experience, right?