It is that time of the year again! Many of us dread the winter months, but as the leaves are falling from the trees and decorating the landscape in burnished colours it’s easy to forget why. The late afternoon air has that special smokey smell. Your supermarket starts stocking the soup mixes you love. You start digging your comforting winter sheets and fuzzy fleece blankets out of the cupboard and revel in snuggling close to your significant other for that extra 10 minutes before you get out of bed. Winter is not so bad after all.
Until the first (but sadly not the last) morning you wake up to the sound of sniffling and coughing – they are singing your song! Welcome to the winter woes of the whiny toddler with a runny nose.
How to deal with sick children during winter
As a parent there nothing that I hate more than seeing my children sick. I love having them running around energetically, laughing and playing and generally enjoying life. Having one of them just sitting on the couch and staring at me with those droopy eyes makes me feel so sorry for them. In that moment I would do anything to just get them back to normal again as soon as possible.
We all know who rules our household and she’s 3 years old. Our daughter Lana is the epitome of energy. But about 5 weeks ago she woke up with a runny nose, and it all went downhill from there.
The story goes like this. At first, it was just mucous and all its joys. But after a few days, she started coughing and didn’t stop the whole night! Obviously, she felt bad, and I felt bad for her (and to be honest for myself as well), and neither of us got any sleep. The next morning I told my wife that we had to do something. My inner caveman/Super Dad was looking for a solution, which surely the medical profession could offer. We took a trip to the doctor’s office and left with a prescription for antibiotics, nasal spray and some cortisone. After 3 days she was better and I gave a sigh of relief.
However, within a week she started coughing again. My wife and I could not believe it. We immediately started some extra vitamins and more nasal spray, but with no success. We realized another doctor’s visit was needed but decided that a repeat infection definitely warranted the paediatrician.
Prescriptions, prescriptions, prescriptions…
I can probably write a book on finding the right doctor whom you trust, and the impact of not having such a person. Although we live in Centurion, we have a paediatrician in Kempton Park, and off we went. This was just before the April school holidays. Our doctor is extremely thorough, but he’s not shy writing prescriptions and I was prepared for the shopping list of medication that I left with. He told us that a lot of kids are coughing and there definitely is a rampant bug in the air. He also told us that Lana’s cough sounded asthmatic chest and that the antibiotics that she received from the previous doctor were not the correct type to address the problem. He prescribed 2 more antibiotics, a bronchodilator, a nasal spray, cortisone and medicine for nebulizing.
All of this happened 2 days before we left for our holiday at the coast. I was optimistic and felt that it was great timing as the children’s flu symptoms always disappear when we are at the sea. Up here we are not only blessed with e-toll and traffic, Highveld but also with pollution, dust and wind! My predictions were accurate. Within a day or two, Lana was running around and all was good! I was certain that we had it beaten properly this time around.
But sadly, third-time unlucky, she started coughing again within a week of our return. I was dumbstruck when this started again. Who do I go to now? I decided to go to the local doctor again. It was a Monday. He examined her and identified a post nasal drip but no other signs of infection, so he just prescribed some nasal spray and probiotics. She was still energetic and was playing and running around. It was just that she had a cough that did not stop.
However, the next morning when we woke up we could see that Lana was sick. The attached picture was taken that morning. My heart dropped to the floor and I felt so bad for her. As a father, I wish I could take this infection on her behalf. It was definitely man-down! Back we went to the paediatrician in Kempton Park.
He took x-rays, told us she has the RS-virus and suggested admitting her to hospital. I was gobsmacked! How could something change so much in one day? Or did the doctor the previous day got it that wrong? As it was the week before Easter Weekend he conceded to give us two days and (another) massive list of medicine but told us that if Lana is not better in 2 days, she will have to be admitted to hospital. Again it was antibiotics, an increased dose of cortisone, nebulizing solutions, adrenaline and probiotics!
Trying to nebulize Lana while she is awake is impossible. We had to nebulize her each hour for the first few hours and then every 4 hours. And it was through this process that I just again realized how great the BabyWombWorld Portable Nebulizer is! It does not make the slightest of noises. When Lana went to bed, we would take turns to nebulize her while she was sleeping. Works fantastically!
Within 2 days Lana was better. We were grateful for that. We also then decided that this winter we will keep on nebulizing Phillip and Lana on a daily basis to try and prevent sniffles from turning into full-blown infections.
After the last 5 weeks, I want to leave you with a few tips and advice for dealing with sick children during winter:
- Be grateful and enjoy your children while they are healthy and running around.
- All children get sick. Just hang in there and take it day by day. It will pass again.
- Take them to a doctor sooner than later, and if necessary go back a second time or for a second opinion. While some things may blow over, others can get worse and can be dangerous for your little ones.
- Keep your child’s nose open. Use a normal saline spray as part of their daily hygiene routine.
- Don’t underestimate the power of nebulizing!