Posts Tagged ‘ Vicks vapor rub ’

My Kids’ Health Crisis, Part 1 = My Resolution Crisis

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Remind me to never make a New Year’s resolution for as long as I have kids under the age of 18. My resolutions were reasonable and tangible. For 5 minutes. At the top of my list: getting back on the blog. Posting at least twice a week. Followed by running 2 times a week and doing yoga at least once a week.

Then came the proverbial thunderstorm that sucked me into its vortex as it wreaked havoc on my week. Here is part 1 of my war story.*

Wednesday at 3 a.m.: Em coughs to the point of barfing. Fia wakes up complaining of something in her throat.

Em eventually falls back asleep, propped up in crib, humidifier at full speed, slathered in Vicks Vapor Rub, particularly on his feet (click here for more on this cough tip).

For Fia, I see a white “thing” almost like a skin tag on her tonsil. I give her Motrin.

Wednesday 9 a.m.: Em is doing awful. He can barely breathe because the cough is relentless. Fia is saying it’s hard to swallow. I rush both kids to the doctor. Em is diagnosed with full-blown pneumonia. They give him a hospital-grade antibiotic shot in the butt to try and avert an emergency room visit. I guess this is a super painful shot, and he screams bloody murder as big fat tears roll down his face. Fia can’t wait to tell everyone about this. She is almost giddy.

Meanwhile, she is diagnosed with a “tonsil stone“…which is when debris of food and bacteria build up on your tonsil, causing a hardened, white, almost scab-like spot. The doc doesn’t think it’s hardened yet though and is able to put a long Q-tip in her throat and knock it off. Or so he thinks. Problem solved. 

Wednesday 4 pm: Fia spikes a 105.5 fever. I’m suspect that the stone wasn’t the only issue.  Problem not solved. I give her Motrin, she seems fine and I am so preoccupied with Em, I don’t call the doctor. Em just wants to cuddle and sleep. For once the world’s most active (almost) 2-year old boy is passive.

Wednesday 11 pm: Em’s fever is 103 (love my thermometer because I don’t have to touch him to take his temp) and he is panting in his sleep at a rate of 70 breaths per minute. I speak to the on-call doctor. She said if we can give him Motrin and get his fever down, his breathing should slow to 30-35 bpm. If not, then we have to get him to the ER for oxygen.

Emmett is the worst child with taking medicine. Even at the doctor’s office the nurse gave up on helping me with Motrin when he barfed all over her. He is so stubborn, and he gargles it at the back of his throat until he pukes. But Phil and I had to get it down. So we get him up and pinch his cheeks so his mouth is open and the cheeks are between his teeth. That way the nurse said he can’t bite down because he’ll bite his cheeks. I get 1/5th of a dose in before he projectile vomits on us both. Fia is awake now screaming with a 104 fever.

I get Emmett in a cool bath, then try again once he’s dried off and a little calmer. I manage to get down about half a dosage. I decided not to push my luck, because I’d rather him have a little bit than barf all of it up.

Phil is with Motrin-medicated Fia, whose fever is down again. I’m with Emmett, waiting for him to fall asleep so I can count his breaths. 30 minutes later he is panting, but at a rate of 35-40 breaths per minute. I put him back in his crib and go to sleep on the spare bed.

It’s only been 20 hours since this all began…and that was just the beginning of my perfect shit-storm. And the end to my New Year’s resolutions. I’ll post the rest tomorrow.

*I realize in the grand-scheme of things, this is just a bad day/week. We are not battling a chronic illness or worse. But I like to put it all out there in case anyone else has experienced these same conditions or others. It’s parenting in the trenches. Thankfully I don’t have to do it often. Tell me your tips/stories.  It feels good to write it all down.

 

Yoga pose via Shutterstock

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Why Can’t Kids Take Cough Medicine?

Friday, October 18th, 2013

I don’t want to wish away the time with my kids. I know it goes fast. But there is one thing I am seriously excited about when they turn 6: the ability to give them cough medicine.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like to medicate if I don’t have to. Or, if alternative therapies worked, I’d be all game. But at times, there is absolutely nothing that helps Fia’s chronic cough. Last week her cough turned into walking pneumonia. I’m convinced it’s because of her coughing that hard for that long, night after night, not sleeping, that wears the whole body down. So what is worse? Giving them a small dose of cough medicine or letting it turn into this? Now she’s been on hard-core antibiotics for five days. Yes, the cough is gone, but did it have to get that far in the first place?

I get the body is supposed to learn to fight on its own and during the day it can. But at night when a kid is puking because he or she is coughing so hard? It’s just wrong. I mean, we’ve managed to build the Hadron Collider, figuring out the physics of the universe and yet I can’t give my kid relief in the night?

I got so fed up with her cough last week. This, after she was gurgling in her throat from all the mucus. I did the nebulizer twice, both inhalers, and had the humidifier turned up so high the moisture made it feel like the Amazon Jungle.  Emmett then started to cough so hard he started throwing up. So while Phil slept with her propped up on pillows, I slept holding Emmett upright in the rocking chair.

The next night, as it all started again, I gave Fia Benadryl. She slept like a baby. Em and I had to just plow through because being under 2, I get that he’s too little to do much.

But generally speaking, it’s so f–king frustrating I want to scream.

Months back when her cough was bad, the Vicks Vapor Rub on her feet was an absolute miracle. I still use it on both kids, but the results aren’t as impressive.

Fia has asthma fits that become exacerbated when she gets a cold. I’ve been to a pulmonologist and the pediatrician countless times. Everyone just kind of shrugs, since there is nothing they can do.

So why can’t we give our kids cough medicine? Because in 2007 the FDA looked at the limited studies and said that the amount required to help a cough is too strong to give kids under 6, Many of the pharmaceutical companies voluntarily recalled it for infants (which, frankly, is impressive for an industry that is all about money). The kids cough medicine you see on the shelves today won’t give any dosing for kids under 5 or 6. Now part of this decision is due in part to people not following directions properly and overdosing kids to a fatal level.

The thing is, it is hard to distinguish between all the medicines. I have to read the dosing sheet from my pediatrician’s office at least 3 times to make sure I’m doing it right. There is a huge, potentially life-threatening issue if you don’t distinguish between a regular formula of Motrin or acetaminophen and the concentrated drops.  This American Life had a heart-wrenching report on babies dying from mistakes in acetaminophen dosing.

Back when they took the medicine from the shelves, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said the products were being pulled “out of an abundance of caution.”

It went on to say that…potential misuse of the medications, not product safety, is driving the voluntary withdrawal.

I asked my pediatrician about it and she said that all cough medicine has really been proven to do in young children is put them to sleep. Ack. Argh. That’s all I’m asking for: something where she can sleep and not be exhausted night after night from coughing. But she said if there is a cough that needs to work itself out and you are basically drugged asleep, it can be incredibly dangerous. So I’m not faulting all this, I’m just saying that for all of you who had kids before the rules changed, count yourselves lucky that you missed sleepless nights of aggravating coughs.

I’ve tried the homeopathic remedies and the humidifier. If’ it’s a minor cold they might work. But a major cough? She’s screwed.

So unless I decide to “go rogue” and just do it myself (which plenty of my friends have done, as did parents whose kids were born before 2007) I just have to wait 2 1/2 more years. Maybe on her 6th birthday I’ll do a goodbye cough-themed party.

Is anyone else frustrated about this? Or does anyone have any suggestions?

 

Pic of coughing kid via Shutterstock

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My Magic Cure for a Chronic Cough. It’s a Miracle!

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

I have such a breakthrough to report. I wrote about Fia’s chronic cough a couple months ago. This is a cough that lasted for 5-6 months and nothing was working. I was at my wit’s end and annoyed at my pediatricians for chalking it up to a “thing” that toddlers get with various cold cycles. “But she hasn’t had a cold!” I’d say with exasperation. “Well, you know, the mucus can irritate her throat and the cough is the last thing to go. “But she has no mucus!” I’d say, pleading with them to hear me. I asked for them to send her for an X-rays or something. They thought it was unnecessary because her lungs sounded fine. I went in multiple times to make my case.

Finally after my sitter and her teachers at school started to say how much the cough was wearing her down, I took matters into my own hands. I got all the paperwork together to get her into a pediatric pulmonary specialist at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

While I was awaiting approval for an appointment, a miracle happened. I was at a little Xmas gathering with Fia and there was another mom there. Fia started coughing. Of course. I told the mom how exasperated I was by her cough; how I was pulling my hair out over it. She said, “You need to put Vick’s Vapor Rub on her feet.”

What? Huh? It sounded like a piece of voodoo to me. I must have looked skeptical. So she continued.

“I have five kids. Every one of them has had a chronic cough. I kid you not. Put the Baby Vicks on her feet at night. Rub it in and make friction to get her feet warm with it. Then put some on her chest and put a warm towel (not damp) on for 30 seconds. Repeat a few times. Then put her to bed. I promise you, it will work.”

I agreed to try it, but felt like rolling my eyes.

That night I didn’t do it. I mean, what was the point?

Then, I happened to tell one of my girlfriends about this mom’s suggestion. My friend got really excited. “Oh my gosh! Someone else told me about that! It’s totally supposed to work. People swear by it.”

So now my curiosity was piqued. I Googled it and sure enough there are claims all over the internet about the magic of curing a chronic cough by putting Vicks on your feet.

That night I did as instructed with the Vicks. I kid you not: for the first time in 6 months straight, Fia didn’t cough once. I was simply dumbfounded. I did it a second night and at nap times. No cough. I stopped doing it on the chest and only put it on her feet. Still no cough.

I did this for about a week. Then I stopped entirely. That was early January. There have been a few nights where I hear her hacking and if it gets bad, I go in and put the Vicks on her feet. But those nights are few and far between. Other than that, there has been no cough. I repeat: No Cough.

Children’s Hospital called to make an appointment. I told them that for the moment, the problem has subsided.

I honestly can’t believe how something on your feet could cure a cough, but it does and it did. Apparently it works on adults too. I looked it up on Snopes.com–the site that debunks urban legends. Their verdict is “undetermined.” You can check it out if you want to see their report.

Needless to say, I am thrilled, but am still so surprised by the results.  Has anyone else heard of this? Any theories to why it works on the feet?

Coughing in Children
Coughing in Children
Coughing in Children

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