Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dehydration - A Cautionary Tale About How My 3 Year Old Ended Up In The Hospital

We got that stomach virus again.  This will be the third time this season we've gotten it.  The first was when my mother was in town.  Then our Christmas vacation was disrupted by the whole family, and I mean the whole family, constantly running to the bathroom.  I've tried to avoid it.  For months we did a pretty good job.  Most of our friends had it twice.  It went through our ward.  My visiting teachers son actually threw up during Sacrament meeting.  It went through school.  We avoided it.  I was feeling pretty good about myself and then it hit.  And then it hit again.  And then again.  Twice it started with Cheetah making me think it probably originated at the gym.  Just recently it hit our house again.  It started with Captain E last weekend.  He told me on Saturday he wasn't feeling very good, right before the babysitter was suppose to show up and then started puking.  He puked all night and spent the next two days in bed recovering before the fourth day we he just jumped out of bed and went back to school good as rain.  I spent the weekend in a battle to constantly disinfect everything.  Christmas had been horrible and I didn't want a repeat.

Photo: She's eating chips and keeping them down!  Hoping to get her home in the morning!
Facetiming with Peach
By Friday it was looking like we had dodged a bullet, but then Saturday morning again I had to message the babysitter.  "Sorry Sky, looks like Peach is throwing up.  We'll have to reschedule...eventually."  It was a bitter blow.  We had a babysitter, a day off, and there were tickets to the symphony available.  I was really looking forward to it.  Instead I was on day two of Peach throwing up, and nothing would stay down.  Even small sips of 7 up were evacuated plus more within seconds of being ingested.  We kept forcing her to sip sprite and Pedialyte but as the day wore on Dr. J and I started talking about taking her to doctor to have her checked out.  Her vomiting was so violent and her total fluid intake was in the negative.  We decided to settle her down for the night and hoped that in the morning she would be feeling better so that we could get some liquid to stay in her.  At five in the morning, Dr. J ran to her room to help her to the bathroom.  "That's it."  I said, "Take her to the emergency room."  And so Dr J. got to spend his second day off of the weekend at another hospitals ER.  When they got there quick lab work showed her to be exceptionally dehydrated.  She was immediately hooked up to IV fluids and they decided to admit her overnight.  Dr. J texted me to say she was crying but was so dehydrated she had no tears.  By mid-day she was finally able to keep Popsicles down.  By evening she was drinking fluids.  We missed her dearly and because of hospital policy disallowing anyone under the age of 18 to go past the hospital lobby were only were able to see her via facetime.  It helped a little with the bitter pill, but when she was crying for momma it was heartbreaking.  I was so grateful when the next morning she was back in my arms again.  I was so thankful to live in a time and place where modern medicine is available.  I am very aware of problems with the current health care system and I recognize that medicine isn't always the answer but I personal keep a running list of times medicine has been literally a life saver for our family, when my appendix burst, when Cheetah was born 11 weeks early, when Dr. J couldn't pass his kidney stone, and now when a simple stomach bug got Peach so dehydrated her bicard was at 13 and I'm certain we were not going to get things to turn around here.
Photo: Sadie is HOME!!!!
The once again hydrated Peach

Diarrhoreal diseases are still the second leading cause of death in children under five throughout the developing world and are estimated to be responsible for a yearly 1.5 million deaths of children (  Even with this nasty virus going around we in this country are for the most part buffered from the unclean water, food, and diseases that are responsible for the main causes of death.  We are lucky to be able to avoid some of the main causes, we are also lucky to have medical personal available when things aren't getting better on their own which is why in our own country they result in very few deaths a year.  Here are a few things to keep in mind if your kids should end up throwing up this year.

1) We often call it the stomach flu, but viruses that make people throw up really aren't the flu at all.  The "flu" or influenza is that nasty bug that seems like a cold, only twenty times worse.  It is the fever, body aches, tiredness, coughing/sore throat, runny nose, and very occasionally in kids it is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  It is the virus that they make a immunization for each year.  The "stomach flu" is really no flu at all, but instead is gastroenteritis, inflammation of the GI tract that causes vomiting and diarrhea.  it is most commonly caused by rota-virus (there is an oral immunization for this).  The nasty strain going around this year is caused by a norovirus.  "It can be transmitted three ways, fecally contaminated food or water (yum), person-to-person contact, or aerosolization and contamination on surfaces."  It is super contagious, most common in the winter when people are stuck in doors together and "often occurs in closed or semiclosed communities" ie playgroup and my family :( (

2) If your kids are throwing up do not just give them water.  They need to be constantly sipping or being spoon feed an oral rehydration solution.  You can use Pedialyte or Gatorade.  Even sprite or juice is better than just plain water.  You can also make your own rehydration solution in a pinch by mixing 1/2 teaspon salt, 6 level teaspoons sugar and 1 liter of safe drinking water.  Measurements need to be accurate because dehydration is made worse by electrolyte imbalance.  ( Babies should continue to be breastfeed.

3) It is super easy for kids to get dehydrated.  It happens super fast and dehydration will make dealing with the virus even harder.  Kids under six should be taken to see a doctor if they have been vomiting longer than 24 hours. Adults if more than 2 days.  I wish we would have taken Peach in the day before.  You should go to the emergency room immediately if you have a severe headache, can't drink for more than 12 hours (8 for kids), excessive thirst, stop peeing (Peach didn't even have the liquid for tears anymore), get dizzy, or if you have blood in your vomit (it sort of looks like coffee grounds...poor Peach had this).(  In this case an IV will be needed to get you quickly hydrated and back on the road to health.  Don't mess around with this.  Severe dehydration is easy to treat, but can cause death if not taken care of!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I'm always one to resist medical treatment for myself or my kids as they'll probably "be fine" but it is good for me to be reminded that sometimes you just have to take the kids in.



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