Viruses are good for you

(126 Posts)
Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:03:16

Apparently....

Took ds1 and 2 to gp today. Ds1 for the second time in four weeks and ds2 for the sixth time in four weeks.

Both have had temperatures, coughs, sore throats and earache and have had calpol and nurofen daily for four weeks and still have temperatures. I think they need antibiotics but gp said no then told me that "viruses are good for them, the more they get the stronger their immune system will be"

Utter rubbish.

Viruses are Not good for you. Dd2 got "just a virus" last year and ended up seriously unwell and with diabetes because of it. I am really annoyed that they keep dismissing us and say things like this when in fact viruses can actually cause a lot of harm

TheFarSide Wed 18-Dec-13 20:04:42

If they have a virus, antibiotics won't help.

Methe Wed 18-Dec-13 20:05:00

Is it rubbish?

Actual scientific rubbish?

TippiShagpile Wed 18-Dec-13 20:06:28

Can you get diabetes from a cold virus? shock

justabigdisco Wed 18-Dec-13 20:06:30

Viruses don't give you diabetes. Just for info.

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:07:59

I don't think ds2 has a virus he's been really poorly, usually if he has a cold it clears up after a week or so.

Some viruses are harmless I know but for the gp to generalise that viruses are good for dcs to get and will strengthen their immune system is untrue. Dd2 being a good example of what damage a virus can do.

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:09:34

It was the coxsackie virus we were told that caused it. She had been unwell with what we thought was a throat infection, then she had 12 hours of violent vomiting then a week later was diagnosed with diabetes.

Apparently the virus cells are similar to the cells that produce insulin so the body mistakenly destroys them as well.

MummyofIsla Wed 18-Dec-13 20:09:56

Getting a virus now and then is good for you in the manner that your GP suggested (strengthening the immune system) plus he or she is medically trained so surely would know better when they might need antibiotics.

Antibiotics shouldn't be given willy nilly, that's why there are many illnesses that are becoming immune to them.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs194/en/

This explains about antibiotic resistance which is partly accelerated by the misuse of antibiotics.

Nanny0gg Wed 18-Dec-13 20:10:00

How does a virus give you diabetes?

MummyofIsla Wed 18-Dec-13 20:10:16
Nanny0gg Wed 18-Dec-13 20:10:38

Ah. X-post

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:10:44

As far as I'm concerned they do, if dd hadn't caught the virus she would not have had the immune response that destroyed her insulin producing cells.

AuntieStella Wed 18-Dec-13 20:10:57

Viruses are often extremely bad for you.

But antibiotics will make absolutely no difference to them, as they work onyl against bacteria not viruses). So your GP was entirely correct to refuse to prescribe.

noblegiraffe Wed 18-Dec-13 20:11:17

You think they need antibiotics but antibiotics are for bacterial infections not viruses.

BohemianGirl Wed 18-Dec-13 20:11:49

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

NatashaBee Wed 18-Dec-13 20:12:19

Not sure I believe the 'viruses are good for you' line, but antibiotics won't help with a virus.

arethereanyleftatall Wed 18-Dec-13 20:12:24

If you know more than the doctor, why do you go so often?
I don't know how to link, but suggest you google 'what to do if you get a virus'. It won't say give antibiotics.
Yabvu.

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:12:56

We were told by the doctors in hospital when dd was diagnosed that the cause was a virus.

MummyofIsla Wed 18-Dec-13 20:14:07
Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:14:11

I am very aware that anti b won't help a virus but I think ds2 has an infection as temperature has been prolonged and he is no better after four weeks.

BerylStreep Wed 18-Dec-13 20:14:19

Sorry to hear about your DD - how did she end with diabetes from a virus? I didn't know that could happen.

I know there is a school of thought that lack of exposure to germs can cause auto immune diseases because it's thought that the immune system doesn't have enough to occupy it (seriously non medical explanation), however whilst I am fairly laissez faire about germs in general (minimum 5 second rule in our house), I do try my best to avoid colds etc with lots of hand washing.

I remember being seriously pissed off when my MIL started spouting rubbish about it being A Good Thing that my DC had both developed scarlet fever, especially when my DS had a compromised immune system with neutropenia.

Unfortunately there isn't much you can do if they already have infections except to ride it out. Poor things, it can be miserable.

TwistedRib Wed 18-Dec-13 20:15:06

What did you want the doctor to do OP? There isn't a medicine or cure for the viruses that cause general cough/cold/sore throat symptoms.
You do just have to let the body's immune system do its job, I'm afraid.

MinesAPintOfTea Wed 18-Dec-13 20:16:59

The reason hiv and viral meningitis are so bad is because antibiotics don't work against them. They also illustrate beautifully why its not "just".a virus. Its just that the doctor can't hello with most viruses, only symptom relief.

justabigdisco Wed 18-Dec-13 20:17:10

Ok fair enough on the diabetes thing - although that is far from proven, I'm surprised you were told that was the cause.

starkadder Wed 18-Dec-13 20:17:14

I think calling the OP an idiot is uncalled for and quite rude. Presumably she knows why her daughter has diabetes. A 2 second google search confirms her statement anyway - en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxsackie_B_virus.

OP - I think it must be scary; given what happened to your daughter. But antibiotics might also cause more harm than good in this situation. Hope your DCs all feel better soon.

AuntieStella Wed 18-Dec-13 20:18:44

Viruses can cause a fever, and can hang around for weeks.

Why do you think your doctor is wrong about the causative microbe?

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:19:07

Dcs are unwell a lot, when its a cold or similar they get better after a week or so. I can tell when they need antibiotics, it just drags on and they get steadily worse and then once they have anti b they are better after a few days.

All four dcs get unwell a lot, I can just tell when they have an infection, the gp always say its a virus and send us away and we have to keep going back if dcs don't improve.

arethereanyleftatall Wed 18-Dec-13 20:22:25

When you say high temp, do you mean around 37 or around 39, for 4 Weeks?

If you get a virus you will build up immunity and may not catch it again or a related one. Like the deliberate infection with cow pox used to immunise against small pox by Edward Jenner that you learn about in biology at school. I guess that most viruses fall into the category of no lasting harm and prevent getting it again.

However you can't really generalise to say that "viruses are good for you" as some viruses are very bad for you indeed, like the Ebola virus which is fatal in about 60% of cases, though we don't have it in the UK.

Leaving that aside, as others have said, antibiotics work on bacteria not viruses, so there is no point giving them for a virus. And you certainly can't tell whether your DC have a virus or bacterial infection - your doctor is trained to do the best they can to make that assessment. Unless you are medically trained, I am not sure that you really have much hope of persuading a load of people on the internet that the doctor was wrong not to prescribe antibiotics.

MummyofIsla Wed 18-Dec-13 20:25:15

Sorry but viruses do hang around in children, excessive use of antibiotics really is not a good thing, it just makes their bodies less able to fight off infections on their own.

Fairly sure that not GP would allow a child to have a temp. of 39 for four weeks hmm

peggyundercrackers Wed 18-Dec-13 20:25:23

bohemiangirl your really quite rude, OP is obviously not an idiot - you should apologise since you have no idea what she was told by consultant in hospital.

whatever5 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:25:52

As you say, your GP is talking rubbish. Viruses are never good for you. At best they don't do much harm. At worse they can cause serious illness.

Antibiotics won't help if you have a viral infection though so there is no point taking them however seriously ill you are.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Wed 18-Dec-13 20:26:18

'I can just tell' doesn't quite cut it though unfortunately when you're asking for drugs that can do much more harm than good if given when not needed

I have seen many people saying the same as you, getting annoyed because a doctor won't prescribe anti-biotics, with many not realising they do sod all against viruses. There's always viruses going around at this time of the year.

Viruses 'drag on, get steadily worse' and are hard for little bodies to cope with. You just have to give them symptom relievers, it's all you can do.

It is hard when you see your children ill, and you think you know best, but GP's are trained to recognise these things. I'm not saying they're always right by the way, but you shouldn't just pooh pooh what they say

Is there a reason that your DS are ill a lot?

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:27:12

Usually around the 38 mark for four weeks (ds2) today at the drs it was 38.1 and that was 2 hours after calpol and 1 hour after nurofen. Last night it was 37.4.

Ds1 has had a temperature but he doesn't seem as bad as ds2. Dd1 and dd2 had the same but got over it after the first week.

sparklyma Wed 18-Dec-13 20:28:36

Kids get ill. Sometimes it takes a while to get better. Their immune system will fight it eventually. Antibiotics should only be used in extreme circumstances these days as bugs are becoming immune. It's a no brainer that the doctor won't give you antibiotics. I'd imagine 99% of docs would sat the same thing. You don't necessarily know best just because you're their mum. You aren't medically trained.

TwistedRib Wed 18-Dec-13 20:30:03

The diabetes/virus thing is right. My friend's daughter had a bad throat then developed Type 1 diabetes shortly after. The docs also said that was the cause.

NCISaddict Wed 18-Dec-13 20:30:38

You can have a temperature and be unwell with a virus.

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:31:09

Every time I've taken ds2 I've said how worried I am that he's had calpol and nurofen every day for a month. They told me sometimes viruses linger and that a cough can last for up to 8 weeks and its fine to have medicine every day.

This has happened so many times before, a prolonged apparent virus then suddenly dc very unwell and it turns out they have an ear I fiction/pus on tonsils/chest infection and need antibiotics in the end.

Dcs do get unwell a lot, have other health issues and seem prone to catching everything.

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:31:43

Infection not I fiction

AuntieStella Wed 18-Dec-13 20:32:09

I don't think anyone doubts that your DC have an infection. It's just a case of the likely causative microbe.

As minor ailments are self-limiting, by the time yo'e gone in to demand a prescription, the disease woul probably be going away anyhow.

And it's possible the placebo effect is in play here too

But, as you clearly have no faith in your GP, the best thing you could do now is to register with a different practice.

DisappointedHorse Wed 18-Dec-13 20:33:37

You do develop immunity to a virus but only that particular virus or a very similar strain. The common cold for example, there are hundreds of different viruses that cause it.

DC2 used to get febrile convulsions with a raised temperature. They certainly weren't good for him.

Backonthefence Wed 18-Dec-13 20:34:13

Antibiotics don't help with viruses, prescribing them in that situation would be stupid.

1) They wouldn't help
2) The persons immune system wont be as good
3) Excessive use of antibiotics is leading to the rise of many resistant bacteria.

TwistedRib Wed 18-Dec-13 20:35:23

OP a high temp doesn't indicate a bacterial infection though. It just means the immune system is fighting something. There's a good chance that your DC's would get better anyway.
It's also really easy to get fixated with the numbers of a child's temperature. Sometimes it's best just to asses how they are in themselves.
If you ever have to go to hospital, the last thing you want is to be hit with an antibiotic resistant bacteria. Sadly it's the prescribing of antibiotics without proven bacterial infection which has caused these nasties to occur, and it's only going to get worse.

arethereanyleftatall Wed 18-Dec-13 20:35:25

That's quite high for quite a long time. I wonder if it's just been one virus followed by another, rather than one lasting a month?

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:37:27

I wasn't saying I wanted anti b for a virus. I think ds 1 will get better as dds did but ds2 def seems to have developed more than a virus. I know it seems silly saying "I can tell" but I can. Have seen dcs ill so often that there's quite a difference between an infection and a cold/virus.

I just think the gp was wrong to generalise that viruses are good for dcs.

happybubblebrain Wed 18-Dec-13 20:38:03

I think the body needs to catch viruses so it learns how to fight them, especially when young. If the battle is always fought for you (by antibiotics/medicines) your body is less able in the long-run. That is common sense to me. Treat the really serious stuff, ignore the rest.

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:38:38

It could be one thing after another, he's just so unwell and unhappy.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 18-Dec-13 20:39:16

YABU. How do you know they have bacterial infections? Why some people seem to think antibiotics are the answer to everything, I don't know!

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 18-Dec-13 20:40:09

There is no way to tell if an infection is viral or bacterial without testing? Seriously, you cannot just tell!

ErrolTheDragon Wed 18-Dec-13 20:42:14

It'd be good if there was a quick, simple test GPs could do to tell if there was a bacterial infection or not- AFAIK there isn't. Would it be possible for him to take a swab which could be cultured or whatever it is they do?

We did once have a case with DD where we were sure she needed antibiotics as she was developing the same symptoms as the previous time when she'd had bacterial tonsillitis - including a distinctive breath odour, but the doctor couldn't see any evidence and sent us away. The next day when we went back he could see it clearly and prescribed the ABs. It would have been better if he'd been able to trust our observations and experience of our own child but unfortunately there's been so much overprescribing that I couldn't really blame him for being reluctant to prescribe the first day.

lilyaldrin Wed 18-Dec-13 20:42:44

Do you need to keep giving them painkillers?

Paracetamol shouldn't be used just to lower a temperature.

PatTheHammer Wed 18-Dec-13 20:44:07

Woah, never really read anything quite so presumptuous and rude as the earlier posters on here who are ignorant that viruses can cause auto-immune responses. My DD (7) has rheumatoid arthritis, again most probably caused by a virus that she had that went un-noticed.

I agree that if you have no confidence in your GP you should change. I changed for the opposite reason as I had a mad old GP who didn't feel like she'd done anything unless she sent you out for a prescription for ABs. That was despite me knowing the illness was viral and her telling me it was viral..................ummm, why exactly ARE you giving me this prescription then?!
Clearly she did it for the quiet life as she must get tons of people who moan and demand ABs when they don't need them.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 18-Dec-13 20:46:41

>Paracetamol shouldn't be used just to lower a temperature.
we've been advised in the past by medical professionals to alternate paracetamol and ibuprofen to control high temperatures. But may not be wise for prolonged use - childhood fevers high enough to need this usually don't last long.

There is evidence that fevers are part of the body's defence system so it's probably not a good idea to overly suppress them.

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:47:07

Without regular paracetamol and nurofen ds2 is hot and unhappy and clutches at his throat (he's 20 mths so can't say what hurts) he keeps pulling his ears (which may just be referred pain, the gp said they were a little red but not too bad and that nur would help)

I just don't want him on medicine for so long. Other dcs were poorly with it but had calpol/ nurofen at bedtime as they were not as bad as ds2 has been.

bruffin Wed 18-Dec-13 20:48:37

I knowvtwo children who developed diabetes from viruses. There is also resesrch that links mumps to diabetes as well.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 18-Dec-13 20:48:37

Pat Viruses have not been proved to cause autoimmune diseases. Viruses can trigger them off but people are usually susceptible to them anyway. There is no known cause of most autoimmune diseases yet.

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Wed 18-Dec-13 20:48:39

While I agree that it is not good practice for GPs to over-prescribe antibiotics, I do think that some of them are too reluctant to prescribe them at all, and it does sometimes seem like "just a virus" is a line to be trotted out.

medical training or not, there is no way a GP can actually know what the causative organism is without specific testing, which rarely seems to be done (costs money) If they are right in their assumption, all well and good, but if they are not a bacterial infection that could have been easily treated in its early stages can become something far more sinister. One of my friends took her ds repeatedly to the GP over a 5 d period with a high temp and him screaming constantly. Without muh in the way of a physical examination GP repeatedly told her it was just a virus. Until he collapsed and was rushed to hospital, where they found a bacterial infection in his ear had formed an abscess which had burst and spead to his brain- absolutely horrific. He had to have catheters into his skull, was on a ventilator, developed septicaemia, DIC, had to be on heparin for months, had to learn to walk again...possibly avoidable with a sensible initial course of antibiotics.

I sometimes think GPs get so fed up with people wanting ABs for a cold that they miss some of the things that DO need antibiotics (although I understand them getting frustrated with it!)

WhenSheWasBadSheWasExhausted Wed 18-Dec-13 20:48:56

Sorry your kids are getting sick often. My dd has been ill with cold after cold for 7 weeks now.

She was prescribed abs 3 weeks ago for a persistent cough, I wish I hadn't given her them. It did nothing for the cough (it was a virus) and she ended up with thrush and athletes foot.

PatTheHammer Wed 18-Dec-13 20:49:40

Have you asked for a referral to an ENT? Recurrent ear infections are a bugger.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 18-Dec-13 20:49:44

You haven't answered, how can you know it's bacterial when no medical professional can tell without tests?

PatTheHammer Wed 18-Dec-13 20:52:03

Candy- I did say 'most probably', plus when you have spent months talking to some of the most qualified consultants in the area you do start to have quite a good knowledge of the current research, most of which they are doing at the moment.

AuntieStella Wed 18-Dec-13 20:52:19

Reluctance to test is not just an issue of cost. It also takes a while for results to come back. By which time nearly every minor ailment will have cleared up spontaneously, irrespective of whether the infection is caused by virus or bacterium.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 18-Dec-13 20:52:57

Poor lamb.
I think if I was you I'd ask if a test can be done to determine if there is a bacterial infection. I might also ask for a second opinion. And depending on the outcome of that, possibly do as Pat says and request ENT referral.

lilyaldrin Wed 18-Dec-13 20:53:20

Errol - current NICE guidelines are not to use paracetamol and ibuprofen just to lower temperatures.

arethereanyleftatall Wed 18-Dec-13 20:55:42

Do you always see the same doctor at the practice? If so, could you ask to see a different one?

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 20:55:59

Its hard to explain! Obviously I don't have my own lab to analyse swabs but I do have a lot of experience of dcs being ill. A lot of times they've been poorly and got better-clearly a virus, other times, despite gp saying its a virus they've got steadily worse like ds2 has and it turned out to be an infection of some sort.

There have been occasions where its been the opposite way too, we were told dd had a uti and given antibiotics- I knew she didn't so got a second opinion and it turned out to be something else (diabetes).

NCISaddict Wed 18-Dec-13 20:56:00

Viruses are not necessarily less serious than a bacterial infection. The temptation is to say 'it's just a virus' but all sorts of serious conditions are due to viruses.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 18-Dec-13 20:58:48

OK, thanks Lily - my DD is nearly 15 so it's been a long time since those calls to NHS direct etc.

ivykaty44 Wed 18-Dec-13 21:02:05

coxsackie virus b is thought to possibly linked to diabetes not coxsackie virus a

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Wed 18-Dec-13 21:34:57

A virus is an infection btw OP. You keep saying 'I know it's an infection not a virus'.

If they're getting ill a lot it would be worth speaking with your GP to try and get some answers about their low immunity, kids do generally get ill quite a lot it would seem but I'd worry about the medication they have to keep having.

Hope you get something sorted, and hope they're better soon!

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 21:40:52

They are always ill, have had lots of tests but no reason found. They get odd symptoms like facial swelling whenever ill but not sure why, its like an allergic reaction.

I just don't feel happy with the amount of calpol and nurofen we get through, gp assures me its fine but I'd rather they didn't have so much.

saysap Wed 18-Dec-13 21:49:58

Seems to be a lot of medical experts on this thread !

cjel Wed 18-Dec-13 21:56:37

Have you tried offering some warm juice or a cold flannel if you aren't happy with the amount of drugs you are giving them? Also do you think giving them a tonic or something may help?

Maybe baby DC would be happy with juice/squash if hes pulling his throat?

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:14:13

All four have been having vitamins/iron supplement since sep and all except dd2 have been having manuka honey daily (although not sure if it works but willing to try).

Dcs won't drink juice but ds2 has been drinking loads of water and wants to be bf a lot more than normal. I don't do the cold flannel on forehead as was told not to cant remember who by but apparently its not a good idea.

cjel Wed 18-Dec-13 22:18:42

I was just trying to think of other ways to bring down temp than drugs. We still use cold flannels and seems to be ok< Some have 1st aid training but I'm not sure so prepared to be corrected? We have also used fans. Afraid we take meds as last resort!!! so not sure about all this. Have alternated calpol/nurofen for short time when needed though not for weeks.xx

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:28:01

Can't for the life of me remember why its not meant to be a good idea to use a cold flannel, there was a reason but i ust can't remember.

lilyaldrin Wed 18-Dec-13 22:33:58

Damp cool/lukewarm flannel on the forehead is fine - washing them down with cold water or putting in a cold bath isn't.

nocheeseinhouse Wed 18-Dec-13 22:45:42

Antibiotics don't work for viral infections. Most bacterial infections don't need antibiotics. Doctor's don't give antibiotics to make your sore throat go faster, they give them to prevent complications (eg. Quinsy.) So, they listen to your symptoms, examine you, and tot up a)the likelihood of it being viral vs bacterial, and then, the likelihood of progression to a serious complication, including the 'number needed to treat' in their thoughts. They then weigh up the risk/benefits of giving antibiotics, and if it's very unlikely to benefit, they won't risk the risks, and won't give it to you.

Wouldn't it be quicker and easier for the doctor if we walk in saying 'ear!' 'chest!' and he just handed over a script, no work. No, most doctors decide to actually do a good job, not to make their lives easier, but to better care for you!

Sadly, no doctor has access to the magic cold pills that will ensure you are better for Christmas that they are keeping hidden until you explain why you really need the magic pills and are a special case.

Temperatures are now thought to help the body fight infection, so that's why the new guidelines say only give calpol etc for pain, not for fever.

This is one thing that really annoy me about the UK.

In Norway every single gp has a nurse, who does blood test. CRP to test for infection

This way they can detect whether it is a virus or an infection, and prescribe antibiotics accordingly.

If your crp is fine, there is no way you can walk out of a gp with a prescription for antibiotics.

Being ill can put you at risk of developing diabetes. My grandmother suffered it post-operatively; OP's not being at all U in that respect.

cjel Wed 18-Dec-13 22:50:51

Thanks Lily, I didn't think my DS would let me do it to his dcs if it wasn't right!!!

nocheeseinhouse Wed 18-Dec-13 22:53:47

The CRP goes up in a viral infection. Doctors call it the CRaP for a reason. It goes up in anything.

I've traveled to places where you can buy all sorts over the counter. I'm glad that isn't the case here.

Our doctors make extra work for themselves, trying to practice good medicine. It would be quicker, easier (and probably cheaper given many antibiotics are cheap as chips) to leave a bucket outside the room saying 'help yourselves.' They don't do that, and the reason they don't do that is not because they're power-crazed and like to see you suffering from your viral illness!

Knit2togtbl Wed 18-Dec-13 22:54:10

Umm- just a thought, and it's probably way off, but have you had your boiler checked? Low grade carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic flu symptoms.
A friend of mine who's a vet saw a client whose hamsters both died suddenly. She asked them if anyone had been ill recently, and both the children had suffered headaches and flu type symptoms, It was the boiler, and the hamsters had been the early warning system.
www.modernmedicine.com/modern-medicine/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-now/co-poisoning-symptoms-mimic-those-flu

Hedgehog80 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:55:58

Our boiler has actually been broken recently and finally got fixed on Monday, it just kept turning off and we have a cm alarm so it wasn't anything like that. I hope.

Which is why reading a CRP is a skill too, and they would not give antibiotics if it was just slightly raised. It will have to be significantly raised.

BerylStreep Wed 18-Dec-13 23:01:02

We have a friend who as a teenager was admitted to hospital for a ruptured appendix, and woke up with type 1 diabetes.

nocheeseinhouse Wed 18-Dec-13 23:04:04

CRP is a non-specific test. I doubt anyone would use it alone as a risk stratification tool, I believe you have misunderstood. A full blood count, with a differential white cell count could significantly help risk stratify, but again, I doubt the NHS could afford an FBC on every illness through the door, and it would be a cruel unnecessary invasive test in young kids when clinical decisions can be made.

If everyone with a sore throat had a CRP here, the NHS would be bust(-er than it is with mum's getting calpol on prescription when you can buy it in Home Bargains.)

whatever5 Wed 18-Dec-13 23:04:35

Viruses have not been proved to cause autoimmune diseases. Viruses can trigger them off but people are usually susceptible to them anyway. There is no known cause of most autoimmune diseases yet.

They may susceptible to the autoimmune disease, but if they don't get the trigger (probably virus) they won't get the disease. One of my friend's identical twin is disabled from an autoimmune disease (since childhood). My friend is not affected at all despite having the same genes and presumably being just as susceptible.

Iamsparklyknickers Wed 18-Dec-13 23:07:05

On the Carbon Monoxide - don't forget to have an alarm by things like ovens if they're gas (obviously!).

Recently met a woman who only found out her oven was leaking when a nurse tested her with those smoking meter things and commented on her non-existent smoking habit because of her Co2 levels (think Co2 is right).

It was a standard part of some physical test iirc - she'd cleaned the oven that morning.

nocheeseinhouse Wed 18-Dec-13 23:07:38

Antibiotics will not stop you getting complications from viruses. We have some anti-virals for select situations (encephalitis etc), but we cannot cure a cold. If your diabetes is going to be caused by a viral insult on top of your genetic predisposition, IF, then a course of amoxil won't change that.

MadAsFish Wed 18-Dec-13 23:10:58

Viruses are never good for you. At best they don't do much harm.

Actually yes they do, they teach your immune system what to attack (sort of).
Regular exposure to a variety of virii and microbes is what assists the immune system not to develop allergies.

noblegiraffe Wed 18-Dec-13 23:11:40

What's this about new guidelines saying don't give calpol for a fever? The NHS website still says it. It says it might not be necessary if they aren't bothered by the fever but it doesn't say don't give it at all.

I guess it is a question of deciding what to budget for. Here you have to pay a £20 fee to see your gp (free for children under 18 and pregnant women). You pay for prescriptions even for childrens medicine, unless you have a long term illness, like cancer for example.

But, you get time, and various blood tests straight away, which often mean a trip to the doctor can mean consultation, blood tests/other tests, back to the doctor again for a diagnosis. Some times more tests, or a referral on.

lilyaldrin Wed 18-Dec-13 23:28:05

It's the NICE guidelines noblegiraffe - painkillers should be used for pain/distress, but not with the sole aim of reducing body temperature as it doesn't prevent febrile convulsions.

notundermyfoof Thu 19-Dec-13 00:41:23

Wow this thread has enlightened me, I had no idea diabetes could be caused by a virus! shock

I hope your dcs are feeling better very soon op flowers

Theodorous Thu 19-Dec-13 05:37:02

Calling the op an idiot is vile. The NHS is terrible, anywhere else they would have listened to you. Why can't they do a quick blood test? Cheap and easy. I would pay and get an opinion that is is not a fob off to save money.

Theodorous Thu 19-Dec-13 05:37:58

Better than depending on the Googler Mn experts anyway

MrsMook Thu 19-Dec-13 05:50:35

I've just had a stonking cold/ cough that's laid me low for a couple of weeks. I was on ABs for another issue when I caught it.

Why not try some vitamin supplements to give them a boost when they're run down. I've just started taking Floradix to boost iron, C and B vitamins. It's also suitable for young children.

"Viruses are good for you" is a daft statement, but there's not much the Dr can do anyway.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 06:04:57

I would think that with a child who has been ill for more than a week to 10 days, it would be sensible to do a full blood count. OP, you are being a little inconsistent in saying viruses can be pretty bad (which I agree with) and also saying you can tell whether your child has a virus or bacterial infection. With antibiotics, there is a compromise to be made. They cannot be prescribed like sweets. On the other hand, if one had a persistent febrile illness, it seems sensible to prescribe antibiotics, both in case the infection is bacterial and to cover against an opportunistic bacterial infection.

I do think, though, that nhs docs are overly wary of tests, how often do infections drag on past 10 days? Hardly ever. At that point, proper blood tests are indicated.

Weegiemum Thu 19-Dec-13 06:27:28

The viral trigger thing is very interesting. Two years ago I had viral labyrinthitis (ears!) which made me very dizzy. It initially got better but a couple of weeks later the symptoms returned along with numbness in my hands, feet and lower face - I couldn't walk, get out of bed. I was eventually diagnosed with a very rare neurological condition. My consultant explained that my immune system had gone into overdrive and attacked the nerves, which have a protein coating similar to a virus. I'm now permanently disabled, though I have made significant improvements via physio and occupational therapy and a monthly drip which supports the immune response.

I hope, OP, that your dc get better soon.

jellyandcake Thu 19-Dec-13 06:28:11

I really hope your children get better soon, OP, your description of your little toddler made me really feel for him and you - completely miserable. The first winter my ds went to childcare when I went back to work he seemed constantly ill with one thing right after another. It's awful, but he is a lot better now and doesn't get ill as frequently (realise I have just doomed Christmas with that remark!) so I really hope that this is all boosting your children's immune systems and that they all perk up soon. It sounds like you have had more than your fair share of health worries with them so I can see why your GP's response did not seem adequate.

ProudAS Thu 19-Dec-13 06:29:52

It also seems that exposure to bugs during infancy helps the immune system to prime itself and reduces the chance of developing allergies. That's why first born children are more likely to have allergies.

EugenesAxe Thu 19-Dec-13 06:55:45

This sounds weird and I'd be concerned about a GP condoning giving of Calpol/ Nurofen for so long. I'd ask for a call back from another doctor and discuss with them the length of time; were you explicit on this point?

Recently, DS (3.10) had high temp over four nights - between 39.5 and 40.1 - he always responded well to anti-pyretics but as he was not improving generally (and indeed, seemed to be getting worse in the day too) I took him to GP on day 5. He had enlarged, but not pussy, tonsils and she prescribed amoxyl as a precaution and said to administer if nothing had improved by end of Saturday. As soon as I told her his history she agreed I should start immediately. It cleared up within 24 hours. The point - most doctors seem to say this - is that viral infections clear within a week or so; bacterial don't. Unless you are being liberal with the truth, it seems an odd decision on the part of your GP not to prescribe.

Hedgehog80 Thu 19-Dec-13 07:10:53

I thought it was odd that they've not done more, but they said viruses can linger and that the cough he has could linger for up to 8 weeks?? Something about his airways being "over sensitive" but I can hear that he has a lot of congestion in his throat/chest and he coughs up all sorts of nasty stuff (which matches what has been pouring out of his nose!).

Been up since 440 am as his temperature was 38.3 and he was crying. Now that the nurofen has started working he's a lot happier but hasn't eaten much breakfast.

I think I will take him back to gp again this afternoon and ask if he could have a throat swab or a blood test as he's been poorly for ages.

MinesAPintOfTea Thu 19-Dec-13 07:20:04

Your gp does sound quite rubbish though, I went to see ours about ds having a persistent cough and after she'd examined him and I'd told get why I was worried I was asked to make an appointment at about x date so she could check up on how he's doing. Same actual outcome but I felt pretty reassured that she was taking it seriously.

Hedgehog80 Thu 19-Dec-13 07:28:04

I was a bit annoyed yesterday when I phoned to make the appt, they asked why and I explained about ds1 then that ds2 had been ill for four week seen gp x amount of times and was still not better and had a temperature.

They receptionist told me that she had looked at the summary of the last appt and it didn't mention follow up so I'd have to make a routine appt for after Xmas! I said ds2 needed to be seen the same day as he's only little and she was a bit off and had to speak to her line manager before giving an appt!

Artandco Thu 19-Dec-13 07:33:04

Are you sure they have a temp? You mention 37.4, 38 etc. I don't think my childrens temp is ever below 37.8. When youngest was in hosptial last year they said they don't give calpol etc unless temp is 39 or above. Anything under is classified as 'warm' but something your body should and can cope with itself to control. Constently giving medicine at 38 will reduce how how effective your body copes when ill

Hedgehog80 Thu 19-Dec-13 07:38:33

When dcs are well their temp is usually around 36-37 never above but ds2 has not been lower than 37.4 for the last few weeks. He feels hot too and has that glazed eye look that they get when have a temperature.

The calpol etc is not just for temp, he's so miserable without it and just cries, once he's had painkillers and they've worked he's a lot better till they wear off again. We stick to the dose for age and never more frequently than min of four hours for calpol, 6 for nurofen but gp insists its fine to have it for so long but I'm not sure. Don't know what else to do really but we have been through so much medicine lately I keep mentioning to gp but they seem quite happy for dcs to keep having it.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 07:39:10

There seems to be a lot of confusion in a lot of posters of what viruses and bacteria do and their effects on the body.

Both viruses and bacteria can cause mild or serious infection. Viruses, like bacteria, can be very serious and even deadly (think rabies, Ebola or even glandular fever). In addition, the idea that you can use the response to anti pyretics ( calpol, calprofen) to differentiate between viruses and bacteria is not well supported by research.

In practical terms, mild self limiting fevers just need bed rest and fluids. Any time symptoms compromise breathing, consciousness or any of the senses, they need urgent professional attention. Also, anything that drags on more than a few days should also be investigated.

Sirzy Thu 19-Dec-13 07:49:00

It is perfectly normal for a cough to linger for weeks after illness. Everytime DS had bronchiolitis as a baby we were warned of that. Now he is asthmatic and every chest infection or cold leads to coughing for months hence his constant coughing

I wouldn't worry too much about the temps as that is quite a low grade fever. Hope they pick up soon

Hedgehog80 Thu 19-Dec-13 07:51:50

Perhaps I am just over anxious. Its all so similar to how dd2 was this time last year and maybe that's causing me the extra worry. She had weeks of being unwell, then a terrible sore throat virus then v sick. Unwell Boxing Day and sugar in urine in three separate samples but misdiagnosed with a uti then the following week dx with diabetes.

I just wanted all dcs to be well this year!

Bunbaker Thu 19-Dec-13 07:53:45

"Viruses don't give you diabetes. Just for info."

They can. Some viruses can trigger off conditions like diabetes in people who may be susceptible. They can also trigger off auto immune conditions in otherwise healthy people. DD's consultant explained all this to me on Tuesday.

How do you account for adults suddenly having thyroid problems, coeliac disease, rheumatoid arthritis etc? We think it was DD's second bout of chicken pox that triggered off her condition, but can't prove it.

Sirzy Thu 19-Dec-13 07:58:43

Is there a different GP you can see just for a second opinion?

Also nip to the pharmacist to see if they can advise anything. Perhaps something like tixylix will help sooth the throat/cough and stop some of the pain?

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 08:19:24

Viruses insert themselves into your DNA in order to replicate. For this reason, they can cause all sorts of problems (including cancer) later on. I never knew about diabetes but, having read about it, it seems perfectly plausible.

Hedgehog, given the length of illness that your child has endured, I would definitely be insisting on tests. That is surely the difference between modern scientific medicine and the middle ages. We can now look properly into things like blood and draw meaningful conclusions from it. Is a blood test really that distressing? I had one age 10 and remember it being quite interesting (as well as ever so slightly painful). It is a lot less painful than a vaccination.

Hedgehog80 Thu 19-Dec-13 08:22:29

Ds is 20 months so I doubt a blood test would be that upsetting for him and he wouldn't remember it afterwards I expect. Would be good to get some answers as whatever he has is lingering.

hopskipandthump Thu 19-Dec-13 08:22:47

Viruses can and do trigger auto-immune diseases like type 1 diabetes in genetically pre-disposed people.

DS1 has coeliac disease - if you carry the gene for it (which a third of the UK population do) then this can be triggered by catching a virus, particularly rotaviruses. I think the D&V virus he caught when he was 16 months may have been the trigger.

hopskipandthump Thu 19-Dec-13 08:25:13

DS1 has had many blood tests, with no problems. For young children these are done in hospital, and 'magic cream' (local anaesthetic) is applied 45 minutes before doing the test. At our hospital they are fantastic, have a brilliant distraction technique, and DS1 doesn't mind the experience at all.

With very young children though it can be difficult drawing enough blood. DD had a blood test at 20 months which didn't work because they couldn't get enough blood out of her little veins, and she got upset sad

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 19-Dec-13 08:41:08

Tepid sponging isn't recommended as it fools the body into thinking its cooling down and instead the body increase its temperature further.

Paracetamol isn't recommended to try and prevent a febrile convulsion either, as it'll happen anyway as its to do with the speed the temperature rises.

Viruses can be serious, RSV for example can make some babies extremely ill.

Nowadays the guidelines say not to give calpol/nurofen just for a temperature, but if they're in pain or uncomfortable with it.

whatever5 Thu 19-Dec-13 08:58:12

*Actually yes they do, they teach your immune system what to attack (sort of).
Regular exposure to a variety of virii and microbes is what assists the immune system not to develop allergies.*

They don't "teach your immune system". You make antibodies to neutralise the virus if you get it again but if you don't get it in the first (or second) place you wouldn't need those antibodies would you?

I don't know of any good evidence that viruses stop you getting allergies. It could just as easily be the other way around (i.e. they could increase your susceptibility).

candycoatedwaterdrops Thu 19-Dec-13 09:13:10

Not all bacterial infections will improve drastically with antibiotics either, they may dampen the infection a day or so quicker. However, doctors have to balance that against the chance of side effects which can be very unpleasant.

I have an autoimmune disease and I'm on 3 types of drugs that suppress the immune system, so any sign of infection e.g. cough for more than a week, UTI symptoms, I'm advised to take a course of ABs, even if it turns out it wasn't an infection! However, my GP has to weight up the probabilities and they feel that a course of ABs and all the nasty side effects (I always get horrendous thrush) is a better course of action that letting it linger and me ending up in hospital.

As others have said, viral infections are not less serious than bacterial infections, they just tend not to respond to antibiotics.

cory Thu 19-Dec-13 10:04:20

Hedgehog, your dc sound a bit like my dd when she was younger: endless infections and always took a very long time to get over something that her brother would throw off in a matter of days.

In the end we had her referred to a consultant in immunology who tested her for neutropenia. She did not have it, but one thing he did do was to explain that some children just have very late developing immune systems and that there isn't a lot you can do about it.

When I think about it, her uncle was the same: always ill as a child, and with virus infections that seemed to drag on forever.

In retrospect, I also think a lot of strain was put on her body by the stress of having Ehlers Danlos syndrome (joint pain and mobility issues) and that her poor immune reactions were partly a result of that. It is a lot better now she is older.

I would ask to have your ds sent for blood tests. They're not all that cruel and invasive and if there was anything wrong you'd need to know.

In our case it was just a case of sitting it out- but we needed to know that too.

Hedgehog80 Thu 19-Dec-13 11:28:27

Maybe it is partly due to the eds? My four have it and they never seem 100 percent and are always so tired.

Artandco Thu 19-Dec-13 13:40:51

What are they doing when ill? Do you still try to get on as usual or do they properly rest.

I really think ours recover quickly if they ever are ill as they completely rest. When 2 year old was ill last month ( tired, whiney, 39.5 temp etc) we tried to spend most of the day in bed/ laying on sofa/sleeping/ fluids etc..

Elder child (4) had admittedly a boring ish day but was happy enough just playing with toys or reading with us.

The next day he was almost back to normal. In comparison friends seem to take theirs out and about/ doing things at home and making them eat as usual and they are always ill for a week)

Our v v rarely get ill (1-2 a year so far). One thing we do do is spend a lot of time outdoors. I know it's probably a myth but it does seem to keep them healthier. We are probably out 2-4 hours a day in winter, 6-8 in summer as minimum.

Hedgehog80 Thu 19-Dec-13 15:46:41

We have been staying in as much as we can. In the last week or so ds2 has reverted to having two daytime naps again so he's getting plenty of sleep.

Ds1 always has to rest when he's ill or he gets really poorly, he's had two days in bed and has just been sitting down drawing today.

YANBU that viruses aren't good for you - I got one at 21 that ended up giving me Rheumatoid Arthritis. But YABU to expect antibiotics if it isn't bacterial. Anti Virals and Anti Biotics can have nasty side effects and can cause as much damage as not taking them, so the doctor probably has good reason not to prescribe.

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