Eight year old Skylee had a 102.4 degree fever this morning at about 7:30am when I checked it, shortly after waking up. She had the fever for the past two days, but this was the highest point. With all the talk of swine flu and the grim implications I was pretty worried. At what point do you bring a child into the emergency room? I decided to give her two more Tylenol and see how she would respond. Her last dose of Tylenol had been at 2:30am when she woke up feverish, needing to use the bathroom.
As parents we walk a fine line. Going to the emergency room is expensive, however there are times it’s necessary regardless of cost. When a child is in great pain you have no choice. When they are very sick, you have no choice. But what about those borderline times? Fortunately we had some experience with the ER and Skylee’s temperature in the past.
When she was a toddler I remember bringing her to the ER with a fever of 102+. The doctor on duty saw to her and imparted some eye opening news for us. Sure 102 was a bad fever, but it wasn’t that high or that necessitated a trip to the ER. He told us when a fever reached 103.5 or more and stayed there for a prolonged period of time, that’s when people were in imminent danger. So what if my thermometer was off by a degree and Skylee’s temperature was more than we thought?
Twenty five minutes later I check Skylee’s temperature again and it had notched up slightly to 102.5. She was still lying on the couch, looking sick and listless as ever. I had read somewhere that if a swine flu fever spiked you needed to get your child into the ER. Otherwise taking them in was unnecessary and it might not even be recommendable. Moving them can be hard on their bodies, and taking them into a germ filled ER might make matters worse. Plus you could share your child’s germs with other sick people. So what were we to do?
A few decades ago I used to go to a friend’s house and play a video game called ‘Road Rash’. To this day I remember the game shouting, “Don’t freak out!” Those were words to live by, not just play by. Five minutes later Skylee started moving around, looking and sounding much better. I took her temperature again and she was back down to 99.5, out of the danger zone.
We are living in dangerous times. Last week we read about an elementary school aged child dying from the swine flu just across the bay from us. So having a flu with high temperatures go through our house has been scary. My other daughter, six year old Sabrina got the fever too. It lasted three nights before finally going away. Her temperature never got as high as 102, and as of yesterday morning the fever had gone away without the use of Tylenol, so she was back in school today. I’m wondering if I’m going to get this thing next, and if so how my body is going to respond.
We all received the regular flu shot a few weeks ago, so the bug in our house probably isn’t the regular flu. There is still time for me to get the H1n1 shot, and my local hospital has it, but I have decided to pass. I’ve heard that as many as 50% of doctors are not getting it because the shot has not had time to be tested properly. So where does that leave me? Until I get sick, if I get sick, I’m just going to keep exercising, getting lots of rest, drinking lots of fluids and keep taking Airborne while the illness remains in my house. All time tested ways of staying healthy.
Image credit: Vivek Chugh
Andy Falk is a father of two incredible daughters ages born in 2001 & 2003, Skylee
and Sabrina. Andy is very active in the lives of his daughters, from coaching soccer to supporting them during swimming season to just plain doing homework or hanging out. Andy also surfs regularly, bicycle commutes and is a successful Realtor in Marin County, CA. Andy earned his MBA from San Francisco State University with an Internet Marketing concentration, and holds a BA from the University of California at San Diego where he studied and surfed in the 80’s.