In the beginning of June my husband, our two youngest children and I traveled to the United Republic of Tanzania. Aka: my birth home. As expected before international travel, we each took appropriate vaccines and malaria tablets.
We were in Tanzania for five weeks, and within that time both children got sick. It began with the 3 year old getting a viral and bacterial infection. One night we noticed that her temples were a bit hot, and then the heat transferred to her palms and soles and they were hot! I had personally never experienced this nor had I ever come across any such symptoms while doing other research online. So needless to say, it was a bit scary.
When we took her to the doctor, lab results showed that she had a viral infection resulting in a rash all over her body, and a bacterial infection which was likely caused by fecal-oral transmitted bacteria.
Nasty. I know. We are parents, however, and if we aren’t writing posts about fecal-oral bacteria, then why are we really here? (smile)
She was prescribed antibiotics, calamine lotion, an antihistamine cream, and antihistamine syrup. After a week, she was all done with her antibotics, which she finished entirely, even after she felt better (I mention this in jest, but I also want to reinforce the importance of ensuring that our kids finish the antibiotics they are on). Her rash went away after a couple more days and that was that (or maybe not).
As soon as she was fine again, her 1.5 year old brother became ill. Coughing, sneezing, hot temples then hot palms and soles including a 102 degree fever in the middle of the night.
The following day we took him to a doctor and his lab results thankfully showed he had not viral infection, but did have a bacterial infection, also brought on by…. You guessed it: a fecal-oral transmitted bacteria.
He was also prescribed antibiotics and probiotics, and began healing quickly.
Fast forward two weeks, to our second last night in Tanzania. My son had a restless night. I thought it was because he wanted his daddy. He was calling ‘Daddy! Daddy!” in the middle of the night and showed no other signs of illness. The next day we walked to pick up my emergency passport (that’s a story for another day) and it was the dustiest 15-minute walk on which he has ever been. Think country road meets busy city road.
I walked as fast as I could, even jogged a bit, but alas, the damage was done. That night he had a runny nose that went from clear to yellow overnight. He has been sick ever since.
When we returned to the States I took him to his pediatrician’s office and explained what had happened. The pediatrician on call prescribed an anti-allergy medication. Five days later he was no better. We went back and his usual pediatrician said to increase the dosage of that medicine and alternate it with another antihistamine.
We added the use of a humidifier, eucalyptus oil, and baby Vicks on the back, chest and feet. We also got a really cool contraption that allows parents to suck the snot out of the baby’s nose through a filtered hose that keeps parents mouths clean. Yay!
Nothing was better. He had that same palm and soles fever for two nights. We took him to the doctor for the third time and I explained our travel and illnesses to a third pediatrician. I explained how both kids were still feeling sick, one with crazy congestion, the other with a persistent upset tummy – something she never used to have.
I am not in the medical field and words in my vocabulary like to take abrupt leave of absence (my husband says it’s because I speak multiple languages. I go with that reasoning!). So sometimes it feels that what I have gathered about my children’s health and what I think should be checked based on how they are feeling, is something that their pediatrician doesn’t quite get. Sometimes it feels as if they dismiss the possibility of something worse until it becomes that very thing; only then is it treated. Again, I am not in the medical field, so maybe there is nothing they can do until the reddened ears become infected ears, and the heavy congestion becomes wheezing… I don’t know.
This third visit proved more fruitful. This pediatrician seemed to actually listen and I also knew to be firm in what I wanted done for my children. He acknowledged the possibility of them being exposed to something overseas that requires special attention; something no one else acknowledged until then.
We are going for a follow up visit tomorrow, but it will also be a second visit for our 3 year old, as she is now showing many of the same symptoms as her brother , plus a couple of her own.
If there was a point (or two) to this post, it would be to please follow your instincts when it comes to your children, if in no other area.
Doctors are now considered to be in position of prestige, but that shouldn’t deter you from doing your research and stating exactly what you would like to see happen with your children. Don’t be afraid to be mom.
When traveling try your best to keep your children’s hands clean, and the dishes they use clean and dry.
What tips do you have when it comes to traveling with small children? Have your children gotten sick while overseas?
Do you feel that your pediatrician is interested in what you have to say? Do you feel that he or she is really listening to you?
This is an original post to World Moms Network by Sophia of ThinkSayBe. Photo credit to the author.
In this post, World Mom, Piya Mukherjee in India has shared an excerpt from her motherhood diary. Many of us have gone through this same experience with our children when they were small, but ever did we think a mom on the other side of the world was playing the same game?…
These days, I seem to be in the middle of an affair with scissors and cellotape (Scotch tape). Come rain or shine, be it noon or night, these two innocuous objects have inexplicably developed a strong attachment for me, and I, for them. Diapers, I can understand, baby oil and soap, quite naturally; and toys? – but of course. But cellotape and glue?
Actually, there is a simple explanation. Abhishek, my over-a-year-old-but-not-yet-two son, adores books. He loves to feel them, dribble on them and even chew the pages meditatively, if they seem interesting enough. He turns pages and stabs his tiny fore-finger below each picture, a cue for me to explain what it is (never mind that I had done just that an hour ago!). Once, he even subjected his book on animals to the indignity of a bath – in a warm puddle of his own making!
Given his proclivity towards books, it seems logical that pages will often tear under his enthusiastic but clumsy fingers.
And what happens to that poor little torn page? It is promptly placed in Mama’s hands, where, with immediate ministrations of glue, scissors and cellotape, the book becomes whole once more. Albeit in a battered sort of way.
Meanwhile, the guilty party shuffles on his feet and darts me repentant glances from beneath lowered lids. I launch into a lofty sermon on why books should be treated with care and respect. Next comes the message “This is definitely not on.” Finally, the tete-a-tete ends with a pat on his back and a “Be careful in future.”
Abhi gives me a smile of relief, which clearly says, ”Won’t happen again, Ma!” I grin back and hand over the pieced-together book. Grabbing it gleefully, he toddles off to his favourite corner. Soon, he happily retreats into a cozy, private cocoon of books, imaginary friends and one-sided babble. Sighing in relief, I turn back to my work. Feeling the contentment that comes from a job well done, a clear message given to a young, impressionable mind.
I laugh, remembering the time I caught him in the act of throwing a torn page into the waste-paper bin. To avoid the inevitable reprimand, he had decided to do away with the evidence! The crumpled picture of a bright green spinach was duly rescued and given its rightful place in its book – with the help of the omnipresent duo, of course.
I start dreaming of the day when Abhi will use his knowledge to make a positive difference to his world. Information will no longer be restricted to books. The ubiquitous computer will occupy prime space in his life.
But books are likely to be his loyal companions for a long time to come…Will he then remember his first books and their colourful pictures? That picture of boat with its sail under cellotape? And the gentle lamb in his book of Nursery Rhymes, its tail in tatters? Maybe he will…
The peace is abruptly broken by the sound of ripped paper. A curly-haired head is bent in contrition. Two little hands are guiltily fingering a torn bit of paper, as if to ask, “How on earth did this happen again?” Sigh! It’s time to reach for the cellotape and glue once more!
(The little reader finds shelter in his mom’s cupboard, after one episode too many of ripped pages.)
Have you ever wondered about all the mothers around the world facing the same day to day as you? Where are reading this from? Leave us a comment!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Piya Mukherjee of Mumbai, India.
Photo credit to the author.
After flying our twin toddlers half way around the world four months ago, and taking three trips within a month recently, I was certain that I would have some ingenious insights to share on traveling with children. I thought that in addition to the universe of tips out there…from how many diapers to pack, kinds of toys to bring, useful apps to download, to reminders about extra clothes for yourself, and the triumvirate panacea of patience, sense of humor and a thick skin… that I would have new pearls of wisdom to add. Yet I do not because there is a lot of good advice out there that really covers it all.
The insight that is new to me about traveling with children has more to do with traveling as a mom – the mom herself as a traveler, the pre-kids adventurous, curious individual, and how she must now navigate the pursuit of travel, mentally and logistically, with young children in tow.
The need to know:
I have always loved to travel. For business or pleasure, I had no fear of the unknown. Language barriers did not intimidate me from taking a four-month work assignment in Tokyo. Checking community ride boards each day to determine my next destination while traveling in Africa did not make me anxious. There was never a second thought to exploring on foot the crowded streets of Istanbul or Hong Kong or Barcelona for the entire day. (more…)
It seems apt that as a new year dawns, my husband and I preparing to start a new chapter by bringing a second child into our family.
I’m scared as hell.
Our son burst into our quiet life like a bomb.…A really cute, completely beloved bomb who sprayed screams for shrapnel. Owl was not what some people would call an “easy baby”, if indeed such a mythical creature does exist.
He had a bad latch and caused me a lot of pain when he nursed. Once he got the hang of it, he never let go. In fact, over two years later, he still nurses like he thinks it will be the last drink he will ever receive.
My baby books said that newborns slept most of the time, but he didn’t sleep. From early afternoon until nearly midnight, he would be awake and screaming, often for six or even eight hours in a row with no naps.
He only began sleeping through the night reliably in the last six months or so.
My husband doesn’t remember much of that first year. All he can recall is a haze of frustration and sleep deprivation. (more…)