Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baby's first head cold

At the end of our Thanksgiving trip baby began to show symptoms of a head cold.  It's inevitable; eventually was going to get sick.  We visited my wife's family for Thanksgiving and not only was he exposed to lots of people, but lots of people from different areas.  We traveled to New Jersey, people came from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and any time you travel you're exposed to different germs.  A few relatives were in various stages of being sick, so it really was inevitable.

The morning before we left the in-laws he woke up earlier than usual, but during the whole trip his schedule was a little off anyway so we didn't think much of it.  Throughout the day it seemed like he was sniffling a little, but he was enjoying all the attention he got from his grandparents, aunts, and uncles so much that he was in fine humor.  Naps were a bit short, but again, he was in a strange environment so we didn't think much of it.  

The day we drove home probably messed with his schedule and wore him out even more.  Driving for four hours (perhaps more) through New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island isn't fun for anyone.  Driving four hours with a baby makes things even more complicated.  We used to stop along the way to give him a bottle and a chance to stretch, but this trip we decided to just push through and be  done with it.  On the way down we left about an hour before his bedtime so he would be awake for a while at least.  I know I get stiff when I'm sitting in the same position for too long so I'm sure the same is true for a baby.

We took his temperature that night, and there was some debate as to where to do it.  He's 8 months old now and can move himself around pretty well, flipping himself over when he's on the changing table, kicking, and pulling away when we're trying to get him dressed.  We've never had any success taking his temperature under his arm, and the pediatrician always does it rectally, so that's how we've done it.  I don't think it would have been possible to do it if my wife and I hadn't done it together.

His temperature was 99.1°, which falls well below the 101° threshold when we would give him tylenol.  A nurse from the pediatrician's office told me several symptoms to watch for in which case we would then need to bring him in.  If he develops any of these symptoms we should call again: a fever, a cough, a wheeze, loss of appetite, or if he is continuously crying and inconsolable.  She advised we use a cold mist humidifier, keep him upright as much as possible, and use the bulb syringe in his nose to remove mucus.

It's been four days now and his mood is greatly improved, although his nose is still running all the time. He had interrupted sleep the first night we were home, and more short than full length naps.  He's required almost all my attention, which was something else the nurse told me.  She said babies need lots of attention when they're sick "just like adults do," or something to that effect.  That made me laugh because it's pretty true.  

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