Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Monday, July 18, 2011

Toddlers with Strep and Our Go-To "Sick Kid" Drink

So...that sick toddler. I wanted to go into that a little bit more. Not because it was a huge deal that he had strep. It was a surprise to us that he got it, but he did ok. What was a big deal is how easily it could have been overlooked. When a toddler has strep, they normally will not have the typical symptoms. If you're looking for a child who can't barely swallow and is acting miserable like most of us when we have strep, well, you're looking for the wrong things.

Aiden first started showing signs of being sick on Tuesday. He was fine all day, playing like normal even through dinnertime. Suddenly, though, I noticed he felt warm. He still didn't act sick, but he did have a low-grade fever that eventually went up to 102 by the time he was going to bed. By that time, even though he acted fine, Ryan and I both noticed that Aiden had "that look." You know the one little kids have when they might be about to throw up (or at least our kid). His eyes looked heavy and glossed over a bit. He didn't really look sick, but we both could see it coming... Shortly after getting him to bed and right before Ryan and I started a part of a project we wouldn't have been able to simply walk away from, I heard a tiny noise. Wanting to make sure it wasn't a kid throwing up, I ran up the stairs with Ryan at my heels. Sure enough... Yep. Poor kid kept saying, "Uh-oh... Oh no!" because he noticed the mess from what he just did. He thought he had done something wrong, which just about broke our hearts and had us assuring him over and over it was ok. (And without being graphic...let's just say that blueberries earlier in the day do not make for fun vomit. Like it's ever fun, but this is just worse. If only we could know ahead of time so we would watch what we fed them...)

So, Aiden got sick a couple times, but by morning, he was over it. His fever was down to near 100 and was back to normal by lunchtime. And he was running around like nothing had ever happened. Easy to assume he just had picked up some virus. We were at a couple birthday parties over the weekend, so it made sense. Let's move on, right?

Over the next couple days, Aiden was acting just fine. The only problem was that he was waking up some after going to sleep and throughout the night. He would sometimes ask to be held, which is not like him, or would just cry out for a moment or so but not let us know what was wrong. He woke up from naps early and would be whiny because he was still tired. This, my friends, was his MAIN symptom. He wasn't eating wonderfully, but toddlers go through that. Nothing new. He would eat more at some times during the day and less at others. I think twice he casually mentioned, as he ate something, that his "mouth hurt"...but then he would go on eating and that was that. Once this was while eating salsa, so that made sense. When he said it while eating blueberries, it made me wonder. Thanks to a friend reminding me that toddlers can have strep without seeming like it, I was already thinking it could be possible. When the fever went away quickly, I almost dropped it, but when he wasn't sleeping well...I was suspicious. Ryan thought I was crazy.

But I was also right.

Friday found us at an urgent care getting a strep test. And we had Aiden's first antibiotics in hand by the time we arrived home, a few hours later. The hardest thing from all of this has been getting that child to take the medicine. We've had to hold him down together a number of times to get the pink stuff in his mouth, and sometimes he'll drink it on his own to avoid that traumatic experience. (We don't enjoy doing it, but...he does have to take the medicine.)

So... In case you're wondering, toddlers can definitely get strep and you can definitely miss it if you aren't sure what to look for. You can easily google the symptoms for toddlers. Basically, toddlers will usually experience fever, maybe vomiting, and sleep interruption. They might not eat or drink as well as usual because their throat could be a little sore, but a sore throat is not going to be the main problem, and it won't be as bad as it would be with an older child or adult. So, they might keep eating and drinking like normal or close to it (but those of us with toddlers know they sometimes don't eat well just because they are toddlers, too!). We could see a bit of red and a blister in Aiden's throat, but...it's not easy getting a peek into a toddler's throat. If you can, go for it, though. Most websites do say it's not common for children under 3 to get strep. Maybe so, but that doesn't mean they can't get it.

One website mentioned not to run to the dr at the first sign of a sore throat and to wait a day or two to see how the child is acting/feeling. Even my own husband thought nothing was wrong because of how normal Aiden was acting, other than not sleeping very well. I just knew there was more to it, though. Even if things don't seem too off, follow your instincts. And know what to look for, as well. If I had been looking for typical symptoms and hadn't already known how different strep shows up in toddlers, this would have been missed. And while Aiden seemed fine, not treating strep can lead to other complications, which is why you want to know what symptoms to look for. There are *many* websites with information if you do a simple google search. Here is just one.

And...a little product review here. When Aiden is sick with some virus, especially when he's throwing up, we have one thing we always reach for to try to get into his system. Well, two, I guess. One is a probiotic, if we feel he needs it (such as now while he's on antibiotics). We use a powder version for Aiden and sprinkle it into a food or drink we know he will finish. But the other is this...

Ultima Replenisher is a natural "sports drink" with electrolytes. Think Gatorade or Pedialyte. But this comes with no added sugar, no artificial colors or flavors, and it has extra good stuff in it. (It's also gluten free and vegan.) We found some at Whole Foods, but I'm sure you can get it many other places. We've only tried the kids version in one flavor (shown above). Both of the boys like the flavor, and we try to get Aiden to sip on it when he can't keep anything down. We don't drink a lot of juice in our house, so it's nice because he thinks of it as a bit of a treat... It comes in powder form and lasts quite a while, too. I know when Camden has been playing hard or Aiden is sick, we don't want to pump them full of extra sugar, and we try to avoid artificial ingredients when possible, so this is a great alternative to those other drinks. We don't use it often, but I like having it in the pantry for when we do need a little more than just water. 

Even when the kid is sick, he still acts silly! This is the morning after he was sick, when we thought he was on his way to getting over a virus. He's working on his second cup (or the beginning of it).

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