Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Baby gets the flu, influenza A then influenza B

So January was a tough month for sickness in our house, as baby got the flu twice and at least one ear infection.  We thought that we would be good for a little while after he got the flu the first time, but almost immediately after he was sick again.

The flu comes in many different varieties, and each year they choose what they think will be the prevalent flu strain and develop the vaccine to fight that flu.  They spend the year incubating their vaccine and producing enough for the population.  If they choose the wrong flu, and another such as bird flu or swine flu hits instead, the vaccine will be ineffective.  The same concept applies to many colds.  Once you've had it your body still has the antibodies to fight that cold for some time after it's gone; you can't get the same cold twice in a row.

Our baby didn't get the same cold twice in a row.  He got influence B, then influenza A.  My wife took him to the doctor on a Friday for his amoxicillin rash, then on Monday she took him again and he was diagnosed with the flu.  His temperature was a little high leading up to his trip to the doctor's, but our pediatrician's office doesn't even want to see him unless his temperature reaches 101°.

It's a bit scary when your infant is diagnosed with the flu, because the reason I always cite for not getting a flu shot is that only the elderly, babies, and people with compromised immune systems really have complications when they get the flu.

We ended up taking him to the hospital when his temperature went up to 104°.  I guess I always thought that was when the temperature begins to effect the brain, and we weren't taking any chances.  We were only giving him acetaminophen (Tylenol) and didn't know that you can use ibuprofen as well.  From hearing my coworkers talk about putting babies in ice baths and other drastic measures to get their temperature down I wasn't sure what to do.  It was cold outside, but we couldn't just take him without a jacket.  I wet a towel and put it on his head, we bundled him up as usual, and were off to the hospital.

By the time we were there his temp was down to 102.5° or so, and after we were seen by the triage doctor it was time to wait.  In the ER they determine how critical your condition is and assign a priority accordingly.  The triage doc told us he can take ibuprofen at the same time as acetaminophen, so they gave him some and his fever went right down to a safe level.  A baby with a slight fever is low priority, and we ended up spending more than three hours there.  When the doctor did come to see us, she asked us why we were really there.  Those were her exact words, "why are you really here?"  We told her we thought 104° was a dangerous temperature, and she told us some higher temp is really okay; she seemed to think we panicked for nothing.  I don't even remember at what temperature she said to bring them in, because I think if his temp gets to 104° again we'll probably take him to the hospital again in spite of what she said.

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