Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hmmm..maybe they weren't exaggerating

Zachary had his MMR jab 2 weeks ago today. We were warned that it would take about a week to affect him (for some reason the body does nothing with the vaccine for a week and then starts to deal with it) so we were all ready on Tuesday for a miserable little boy. Tuesday came and other than the start of what appeared to be a mild cold and the sightings of another tooth (6th one) there seemed to be no sign of the MMR. Foolishly I thought perhaps Zachary's one of the lucky few. How wrong was I.

Come Friday afternoon he is full fever mode and feeling like he's made of lava! But not too grumpy in himself. Saturday and Sunday however were not good at all. He started off okay both days but soon descended into the land of fever and tiredness. Poor little boy spent much of the weekend in just his nappy cuddling and sleeping on our laps. Mucho application of Calpol and Calprofen helped with the fever but very wakeful nights. Fortunately he didn't have a febrile convulsion or anything scary like that, which are also a possibility when young children get too hot, and seems to be surprisingly common. My friend's little boy had one and I can imagine how frightening it must have been.

Yesterday he seemed much better and was actually prepared to wander around away from the safety of Mummy's lap! But by evening he'd started to get a little warm again - this time we reckon it's the cold starting to hit him though rather than the return of the MMR. Really awful night last night (possibly partly due to being very blocked up) and he's been completely full of cold and feeling sorry for himself today.

So this evening in an attempt to actually get some decent sleep he's had a dose of Calpol, has menthol vapour rub stuff on his chest, and a drop of Olbas Oil on Mr Lion. Fingers crossed.

One interesting thing though - we took his temperature on Saturday to see what was happening and it came out as 39.5C. The directions on the home thermometer said that medical attention should be sought if temp rose above 39C, but we were pretty sure it was all down to the jab and didn't really want to go to the hospital (being Saturday and no GP). Not wanting to just leave it either, I rang NHS Direct and found it a pretty good service.

I went through a kind of call-handler first who I think is there to assess the urgency of the situation ("has he had a fit? is he fitting now? is he choking? etc although if I had been answering yes to any of those we'd have either been in the car by then or waiting for an ambulance!) and then we had a call back from a nurse within an hour. She was very helpful, although you realise just how difficult it is to assess very young children and that you're looking for physical cues and hints as they can't articulate exactly how they feel (for example I had to assess whether I though Z had a headache). She confirmed what we thought, that it was probably just the jab, but also said the fever could last for 3 days so not to go to the doctor until the 4th unless he also starting vomiting, drinking less, or had any other 'unwell' symptoms. She also said that the fever could reach 41C (!) but as long as the calpol etc was still working to reduce temperature after a dose then no cause for alarm. Interestingly she also said Z could have Calpol and Calprofen more or less simultaneously which we hadn't realised. A good experience with them.

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