It has been an interesting week to say the least. On Monday afternoon, Chunky Munk came down with a fever of about 101.4. A pediatrician once told me that it is more than just the fever that you need to take into consideration. To have a low grade fever but an inconsolable child is worse than a higher fever with a child that is otherwise content and will tolerate liquids and even some foods. So keeping that in mind, I just began to observe her. I watched for other symptoms and her overall temperament and appetite.
Her fever got higher as the night went on. We co-sleep so I was able to touch my lips to her forehead as often as either of us roused through the night and by 1:30 am I was worried. I reached for the thermometer even though I knew it would not only wake her but make her quite angry. I checked her temperature; after many tears and a wrestling match that left me breathless and with a sore cheek, 104.2. Yup, I was officially worried. I have to give my husband credit because he used to be one to panic in these situations but I think 7 years of experience has helped him keep a clear head during these moments. He reminded me that within the first 30 minutes of waking her temperature would be slightly more elevated. At first I was just going to put some lukewarm rags on her and slowly bring her temp down a degree or two by making the rags colder with each application. After taking her temperature however, she was agitated, her breathing was slow, her color pale, and her lips changing color from holding her breath? I was on the brink of full panic mode.
We started getting dressed to go to the emergency room and I looked at her and she was fine aside from the fever. She had a temper tantrum! This is the first full out tantrum she’s ever had and I can’t blame her. Running a high fever, being woken up to have a cold stick stuck in your underarm and having your arm immobilized for what seems like eternity probably wouldn’t put me in the brightest of moods either. Once I realized it was the tantrum and not symptoms related to whatever was causing the fever I decided to go back to hubby’s plan A and put some moist rags on her.
Opting to take her to the pediatrician in the morning, we laid on the couch with her propped up on my chest and covered in cool rags. That worked to bring her temp down to just over 102 and she drifted off to sleep. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep after that. I just stayed on the couch with her because the living room is cooler and just stroked her and nursed her as she signed for milk every few hours.
By the morning her temperature was a low grade fever and she had no other symptoms so I felt comfortable going to work for my 4 hour shift. Hubby would be in charge of scheduling an appointment and taking her to see the pediatrician. We recently moved so this was a big deal as it was not only the first time he’s ever taken one of the kids to the doctor alone he was also going to a new pediatrician. This is not to say that my husband is incompetent, far from it, it’s just that this is mom’s domain. I was a little nervous that he would forget something or not be sure of something but come on, he was there, he would know how to respond.
When I got off work they had just finished at the doctor and my hubby informed me that it was just the flu. I don’t know if you know this about me but I have spidey senses and it didn’t seem quite right, but I’m not a doctor or medically trained professional so what would I know. The pediatrician said she just caught it so the congestion and other typical flu like symptoms would soon follow. So I went home with her and spent the rest of the day going about my day as usual because her fever was barely noticeable.
Around 3:30 the fever started to spike. It got higher as the evening went on. She was otherwise without any symptoms, happy, playing with her sister. I put her to bed and checked on her again throughout the night. Around 4:30 in the morning hubby woke and asked how she was doing-burning up again. We’d already established that while she sleeps her fever peaks to 103.5-104.2 so while feeling her that hot is worrisome we knew that some of it also has to do with the warmth of the bed. So we put some cool towels on her and hubby took to the internet. He stumbled across a site that had a post about treating a fever without medication. The information given is enlightening, reassuring, and resonated with me. Hubby also felt more comfortable after reading it. Once she was at a temperature that she was more comfortable at and drifted back to sleep the two of us fell asleep as well.
I could’t be more thankful for the town holiday as it couldn’t have come at a better time. Going into day 3 of the fever I was off so I spent the entire day on the couch with her curled up sleeping in my lap and nursing at will. She slept all day. Literally all day. She woke for a 15 minute period from 10:45 to 11:00 and fell right back to sleep. I was glad that I was able to be home and cuddle her and nurse her because she likely wouldn’t have slept that well with daddy. Her fever had gone down and by the time she woke up at 7:30 that evening she seemed to be doing much better. There was no 3:30 fever spike like the previous 2 days and I thought we were in the clear. That feeling was short lived because by 10:30 she was on fire again.
Hubby said she spent day 4 with a low grade fever all day. Shortly after me getting home her fever went down and that was the last of the fever. 4 days of fever with no other symptoms and then suddenly the fever was gone. We did give in on night 2 and tried to give her a bit of infant fever reducing medicine because reaching almost 105 scared the ever-living life out of us but after being bathed in vomit both times I decided it was enough of that and the rags were doing just fine. When I went to put her to bed on night 4 I noticed a slight rash on her face. I wasn’t sure what it was but it looked more like the little red spots she gets when her dad kisses her and figured it must be that.
When hubby brought her to me to do the baby exchange for him to go to work and me to go home he noticed she had broken out in a rash all over her body. So it was a rash I saw last night after all. It looked like he had kissed her all over leaving these tiny little red dots on her chest, back and face. They weren’t raised, they were just flat little red dots everywhere! So we called the pediatrician and he got us in right away. He took a peek and said that it was Fifth Disease. What? What in the world is that? He gave us the rundown and some resources to read up on it and a prescription for a medication that would ease the itchiness of the rash and that was it.
It still didn’t seem quite right to me. I didn’t even know what Fifth Disease was, but I had this nagging feeling in my stomach that it wasn’t quite right. It was closer but still off. So when I got home I started doing some online digging and came across a post about common skin conditions caused by viruses. I thought I finally found which one it was, Roseola also known as Sixth Disease.
From what I gathered, their names are attributed to the order in which they appeared on a list of common skin conditions way back when. While both Fifth and Sixth Disease are caused by viruses, her symptoms aligned more with Sixth Disease or Roseola. 3 days of fever (Monday afternoon to Thursday night) with the fever breaking suddenly only to be followed by a rash starting on the face and spreading to the trunk and extremities. The rash itself was also more like Roseola than the bright red “slapped cheek” rash that Fifth Disease is characterized by.
Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not saying that my pediatrician didn’t know what he was talking about, had he not mentioned Fifth Disease I likely never would have been lead to the article on the common rashes caused by viruses. What I am saying is that I am one to listen to my mom-tuition. If it doesn’t feel right a lot of time is because it’s not right and I know that being her mom I spend more time with her, know what she is like, and I watched the progression of the illness. Reading about the symptoms of Fifth Disease, I just knew that if I did a little digging my nagging feeling would go away because either 1. the pediatrician was right and it was Fifth Disease and I would find relief in reading that her symptoms matched it or 2. I would find relief in knowing that her symptoms matched whatever virus she caught.
Both illnesses have cold/flu like symptoms at the start so it is hard to diagnose it until the rash appears which is why he thought it was the flu. I think what was nagging at me the most is the fever. When I was reading about Fifth Disease it kept mentioning a low grade fever and the duration of the fever didn’t match. Whereas with Roseola, it was pretty typical for a high grade fever over a 3 day period with it going down during the day and peaking in the evening to night hours.
In either event there is really nothing to be done about it as they are viral infections. You pretty much just want to make the child as comfortable as possible and keep fluid intake up and help them rest as much as possible. I just wanted to make sure I knew which it was because typically once you get it, you are immune to it so we shouldn’t be seeing this virus again and if she has similar symptoms I know to be on the lookout for something similar. The silver lining is that no one else in the house got it (which coincidentally also made me doubt the flu because in that case I was sure within a day each of us would be running a fever and feeling achy).
This is one of those things that lots and lots of rest, nursing or hydrating and resting some more while you wait it out is about all that you can do. Now that the fever has passed and the rash has overtaken her making her look like her sister painted her all over with a light pink marker, she is more fussy. To ease the discomfort of the rash itself and whatever else might be causing her to be fussy, I’m rubbing her down with coconut oil and a drop of lavender. We sure have learned a lot this week, which surprises me because I often think that having a 7 year old I won’t be surprised by this job of parenting, but it seems I have a lot to learn.