Our 14-month-old was sick most of last week. Since he's been born, due to the pandemic and the fact that neither of our guys goes to daycare (hubby is a stay-at-home dad) we've never had to deal with them being sick. I know that sounds crazy, but in this new normal that is pandemic life, it's true.
It was the worst part of our week and both hubby and I went a tad nuts trying to manage a little man we are crazy/loopy in love with. I was all adrenaline and fear, hubby was all paranoia and anxiety. With both of us together, there are a few things I will likely do differently when our little guys get sick again.
- For babies and infants, a rectal temperature is best. It's not pleasant, but it's the most accurate. And if you're dealing with a fever as high as we were (104 and up!) you don't want to mess around with the reading. Strangely, we had both an ear thermometer and a rectal one, and the baby was fine with us taking his temp rectally. Also! Wait at least 20 minutes before taking a baby's temperature if they just woke up from a nap, or just had a bath. Their body temperature is higher after a nap as well as after a bath.
- Urgent care is pricy, but it's worth it for peace of mind. Our little guy had a temperature that went upward to 104 degrees F, so we took him to urgent care to ensure he didn't have a serious virus, or something else that couldn't wait until the next morning. We also got him a COVID-19 test just in case. It cost $80 for a co-pay, but was worth it.
- Speak to your primary care facility. While our baby was cleared after urgent care, we only realized why the baby had such a high temperature when calling our primary care doctor. He had a series of 4 vaccines 10 days before and his temperature and sickness were symptoms from those shots. We never would have realized this if we did not speak to a nurse from our primary care facility. She looked up his chart and there it was!
- Don't be afraid to give Tylenol/Motrin. I am not a doctor, so I'm not suggesting you medicate your little one if he/she has a fever but hear me out: I was reluctant to medicate our little guy with anything because I thought it was unnecessary and would simply mask the symptoms and not treat them. However, the nurse and urgent care doctor explained that if a temperature does not go down after giving a baby a fever-reducer, that also is a cause for alarm. Also, fevers can be terribly uncomfortable for little ones, so some relief through medicine is a good thing!
- Discuss with your doctor/primary care specialist how often to give medicine and check temperature. Our primary care nurse suggested we alternate between Tylenol and Motrin, the temperature at which to give the baby medicine, and how often to take his temperature. Hubby and I tag-teamed and made sure to take his temperature every few hours even through the night. Thankfully, his fever and symptoms lasted just a few days and he was back to his normal/cheery self!
- Ask your doctor/primary care specialist what symptoms to look for that would require an ER/in-person doctor's visit. The hardest part of taking care of a sick baby, is that they don't have the words to communicate what is wrong. We weren't sure if we were doing enough and if we should rush him to the ER. Our primary care nurse was amazing and listed a set of five symptoms to look for, ie: prolonged crying for two or more hours, a rash all over the body.
I am so glad that we were able to make it through this bout of sickness but it was super scary. Leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions for taking care of a sick baby.