Roseola is a common viral infection that affection children from 6 months to 2 years old. Its most common symptom is the sudden onset of a high-grade fever (38-40 degrees celcius or 101-104 fareheiht) followed by little pink spots on the body (usually a sign the fever has disappeared). The child may not display any other symptoms except mild cases of diarrhea, lack of appetite, nose or throat congestion, lethargy.
I, of course knew nothing of this until this morning when I suddenly found little R heating up (38.7 C) and took him to the pediatricians office. It was so sudden that it nearly knocked me off my feet, one moment he seemed to be happy playing, next moment when I gave him a kiss his forehead was like an hot pan. Luckily he seemed to be in good spirits apart from the fact that he was a little fussy and was fighting sleep.
At the Peds office, I was told that the initial diagnosis was that he is displaying signs of Roseola, as he seemed completely healthy in other respects, no signs of stomach upsets, respiratory organs seems normal and no ear infections. Although, the doc warned, with Roseola, you never really know that you have it until the little spot appear, so I still have to keep an eye out for him, there is a mean case of stomach flu going around in Taiwan lately.
So back at home I gave him some doctor prescribed Ibuprofen to reduce his fever - worked pretty well within 30 minutes his fever came down to 37.6 C although his appetite seems completely gone. Unhappy to even drink a sip of water, I decided to run to the supermarket and buy some organic carrots and cook it in water and see if he will take the carrot water ( a nice tip from my dear friend and fellow mama).
Back at home tiredness has set in again and the fussiness seems prolonged compared to usual but at last, little R is asleep, will check his temperature again and see how he goes.
R's temperature remained around the high 37s to low 38s and by 5pm I decided to give him another dose of Ibuprofen to make him feel better as he was starting to heat up again, the medicine works really fast within about 30-40 minutes he was at the lower 37 degrees and starting to laugh and yell like his old self again. His appetite was still none existent, an attempt to feed him breast milk by bottle or carrot water was met with an unhappy baby. Luckily his hunger strike ended at around 6:45 when I nursed him directly and the hungry baby drank for a good 5 minutes. I have read on other mothering forums that have commented on how babies prefer to be nursed directly when down with Roseola, so that could be the case. Another interesting find was that mothers found babies to be more sleepy than usual, which also seem to be the case with R. Although tempted by an extra sleepy baby to sleep more, I doubt I would be getting much snooze time tonight as I will be checking R's temperature feverishly (bittersweet use of my pun).
Wow last night was a night I will never forget. I set the alarm for 12 and then every 2 hour intervals so that I can get up and take R's temperature. Apparently when a child's body temperature gets too high it caused them to have seizures, and while these seizures are not dangerous, I am not keen on witnessing my little darling convulse and then blank out for 2-3 minutes without any sign of life.
At 12 midnight I woke up to my vibrating alarm to find that R's temperature has reached a whopping 40.1 degrees Celsius, panicking I read the notice I got from my docs office which advised me to give him his rectal medication, but only 2/3s. I roughly cut the waxy tablet into the right dose with my fingers and wondered how I would now proceed with the insertion part of the medicinal administration. Hesitantly I removed R's diaper and realized that perhaps my best chance of getting this done right was to do it quickly while he is still drifting in and out of sleep. So off with his diaper and in the waxy tablet went up his little bottom. Except that that waxy tablet would somehow glide back out again according to his breathing, in and out and in... By this time R has woken from his sleep and has now turned and looked at his mummy with a quizzical 'what are you doing down there' look on his face. Unfazed I pushed the tablet in one last time, deep enough that it did not make an appearance again. I then quickly wrapped up his diaper and attempted to hydrate my little man by nursing him with the hope that he will be asleep by the end if the feed. No such luck. Awake and happy, completely unscathed by the enormous fever he's having, R is now completely aware and ready to play. I decided that perhaps I could use a cool wet towel to lower his temperature at least externally and found that although he was not a fan of the cold wetness, we was calmed by its presence against his hot skin.
The rest of the night followed with high fever temperatures of 39.7, 39.3 and finally back down to an acceptable rate of 38.6 degrees.
The morning came and brought with it a bout of runny poo, I was relieved at least some of the toxins are finding its way out if his system and tried to feed R carrot water with a bulb syringe, which he took happily once he realized its quite delicious.
It is now 2pm and temperatures are back down to 36.7 after another dose of ibuprofen at 9am. I have a sneaking feeling this is not the last I will see of the virus, but am glad at least it is controlled somewhat, for now.
It's been 6 days from the initial onset of the illness and it seems little R has made at least a 95% recovery, his fever subsided on the third day, rather suddenly and almost immediately his rash appeared. We first noticed it in his back and bottom, but by the second day it had spread to parts of his face, neck and trunk. On the third day of his rash his face was covered by the little red spots, his neck, parts of his arm and his trunk was the worst affect areas, but I could already see that his back and bottom were no longer spot ridden. Today (the forth day) his face cleared up almost completely as well as his neck, there are still a few small red spots on his belly and trunk but otherwise R looks as good as he did before the virus.
His appetite is still not completely back to normal, refusing to have more than 100 ml of breast milk whereas he used to have 120-150 per feed but I am not too worried as he really didn't have much to eat the last few days so I wouldn't be surprised if his stomach has shrunk somewhat.
His energy level and jolly temperament is back, which is a relief, there is nothing worse than seeing your baby look all sick and sad - it's a feeling of helplessness that exhausts the mind and body ( I have 4 new pimples as war trophies from this ordeal).
So, 6 days, 5 restless nights and 700 grams of body weight lost later, we finally kicked Roseola's butt, and are glad to have this virus behind us. I know that one day, hopefully not too soon ahead, we will have to face another demon virus and go through this all over again, but for now, lets just enjoy the wonderful day ahead! cheers!