Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Letting Ilnesses Run Their Course vs Seeing the Doctor

So, we're all pretty yukky and run down around here these days. I had to go on a quick trip last week, and my husband was away part of the time I was gone, and has been away for an additional week. This has meant the kids have been tired and disoriented all week. On top of this, both boys had colds when I left them (I took the baby with me), and when I returned, the colds had settled in. I met two sick looking boys at the airport, one with an eye and nose oozing yellow yuk and a low grade fever.

As the more crunchy one around here, I do tend to try and let the boys' illnesses run their course without too much medicinal intervention. If their fevers are low, and they are able to play quietly or sleep without disruption, I let the fever run its course and fight the infection. If steam, warm baths, tea, and extra rest on the couch for a few days seem to be bringing things around, then that is what we do.

In this case, I decided to give Aaron some antibiotic eye drops. These helped to clear up the yuk in his eyes, and along with some fever medication, had him up and running around in a few days time. I was feeling pretty satisfied that we had beat the cold.

But then yesterday he started to cough this deep, raspy cough. This morning, he seemed okay, so I delayed calling the doctor again. But this afternoon he actually came inside from playing and asked to sit on the couch and rest, about two hours after waking up from an early afternoon nap. Usually if he's napped in the afternoon it is a struggle to get him to sleep by 9, but tonight he was asleep at about 7:30. So tomorrow morning, its off to the doctors.

I am a little paranoid about antibiotics and super bugs. I also live in Canada, which means free health care, and problems with people clogging up the tight supply of doctors by visiting the doctor every time they have the slightest virus.

But I think I need to just bite the bullet and realize Aaron's cold is not going to get better on its own. So either I let him hack and cough and possibly end up in the hospital in a week or so, or I get him to the doctor to get him something to knock the bacteria on its heels and get him better fast.

When I put it that way, I guess it really is time to see the doctor.

How long do you wait when you child is ill before you go to the doctor's office?


  1. It depends on the situation. I'll bring my daughter in right away if it's presenting like a bacterial infection. If she's sick for awhile, but it's obviously a cold, then we don't bother. The last time she was sick, I brought her into her pediatrician twice and tried to get her into a pediatric after-hours clinic once! She eventually needed antibiotics, although the pediatrician tried to have it run its course initially.

  2. I struggle with this too. It's hard to tell when my children are really sick because they are so good natured. But my daughter has this cold that has been dragging on and this morning she actually asked to stay home. By the time I dropped her off she was fine but I'm wondering if it could be the start of an infection. I'm probably going to take her to the dr. tomorrow just to be sure it's not an infection. We are going away next week and I don't want her to be sick.

  3. Jonathan's more apt to say, I think he/she needs to see the doctor than I. He's usually right when it comes to ear infections. So I've learned to listen to him. Most things I treat at home though.




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