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Is it just me or is it really hard to tell when a child is properly ill?

(13 Posts)
SinkGirl Fri 22-Feb-19 19:48:13

I have twins who are nearly 2.5 - they both have ASD and are non verbal so it does make it harder to gauge, but every time they seem really unwell I find myself staring at lists on NHS Choices wondering whether they’re properly ill or just a bit ill.

Twin 2 has been unwell for two weeks now - started with random high fevers and no other symptoms except that his feet are cold when he has temps (but then his feet are always cold). Now it’s a cough and runny nose with random high temps, although the last couple of days he seems brighter and has more energy. GP gave him the all clear a couple of days ago - no infection, no rash, must be viral. A lot of the kids at their nursery have had the same high temps, and DH has come down with the same bug yesterday. Lots of my friends kids are having the same fevers so it seems to be going round.

Putting him to bed tonight I noticed his skin is slightly mottled - I know that’s a red flag for sepsis / meningitis, but it’s not severe and he generally seems alert and well. He seems more well than he has done for a week, he has no fever right now, he seems okay except for the nasty cough.

There is some recession of his ribs but as a baby he was hospitalised for two weeks after having this severely and it’s nothing like as bad as that. His nose is blocked so I think that’s why.

Why is it so hard to tell how bad it is?! If he seeemed at all drowsy or not alert or floppy I would of course take him to hospital. Anyone else have kids that get a bit of several scary symptoms? I’m obviously keeping a close eye and if he goes downhill at all I’ll take him to hospital (he has open access). The one time he was seriously ill I knew it and called an ambulance but I always worry I’ll miss something crucial.

I think he just likes worrying me!

ThelmaDinkley Fri 22-Feb-19 19:51:15

It's difficult sometimes and I do rely on instinct but I would call 111 for advice if you're not sure. I hope he feels better soon x

hidinginthenightgarden Fri 22-Feb-19 19:52:25

It is very hard! We have 2 visits to A&E in the last 6 months because he seemed drowsy firstly after banging his head and then last week when I picked him up from school (and was screaming that lights were too bright).
Both times he was fine within an hour of arriving and we look stupid! Then there are times where he seems sick for days with high temps.

NeurotrashWarrior Fri 22-Feb-19 20:04:10

They always say they'd rather see a well baby than not see a very poorly one - they go up and down so quickly it's very hard.

Its always worth triple checking all the key things yourself and being aware of some main symptoms of common illnesses, and so what a Gp might be able to do or not or if it's genuinely an emergency.

Nhs website has got so
Much better but if in doubt call
111 here they generally send you to a and e though

We've had random fevers that calpol didn't shift and went on all night and all was well and very low level stuff that turned out to be a uti due to kidney reflux. I'd thought he had actual reflux as he kept being sick; this was a symptom of the uti.

I got good at spotting scarlet fever as he had it twice!

bigbluebus Fri 22-Feb-19 20:31:08

I used a pulse oximeter (small battery operated one that fits on the finger purchased from Amazon) which gave an O2 level and pulse rate, together with a thermometer as an indicator of how well or not my non verbal DD was. Combining those reading with general visual indicators of alertness and whether they are eating and drinking is a pretty good guide in my opinion. If in doubt, get them seen though - at 2 and with autism I don't think the GP/out of hours would mind.

SinkGirl Fri 22-Feb-19 21:03:03

The GP was fab and said we could bring him back any time but recommended that we go straight to hospital if he deteriorates. I know if I call 111 and said he’s having rib recessions and has very mild mottling they’d send him to hospital but at present I really don’t think he needs to be seen. I’m watching him on the video monitor and his breathing isn’t noisy or laboured so at the moment I think he’s okay but obviously won’t hesitate if he gets worse. I guess I’ll be up all night checking on him - these things always seem to happen at weekends and bed times!

He got whooping cough as baby and went from seeming like he had a bit of a cold to floppy and unresponsive in minutes. They checked him out and sent us home as his o2 level was normal and said to come back when it got worse (they thought it was bronchiolitis). We watched him 24/7 for five days, went back twice and then at a routine nicu follow up they checked his o2 and was it was 70% odd. Getting a pulse oximeter is a good idea as I’m sure it was lower during that time at home.

Spent nearly two weeks in hospital with him and it was awful (this was shortly after two months in NICU) as well so when he gets sick it all comes back and I’m not sure if I’m being paranoid or he really is very unwell.

kitkatsky Fri 22-Feb-19 21:06:46

Bless you. With a singleton full term baby I still worried. Instinct and a sounding board will hopefully get you through

femalepresentingnipples Fri 22-Feb-19 21:08:29

Children are notoriously difficult to assess when they are poorly. They tend to compensate really well until they are very ill.

What is his temperature now? If it is abnormally low that’s more worrying than a fever, especially with the mottled skin and recessing.

I’d be inclined to get him seen to be honest. He has symptoms that would mean that if you asked you would be told to take him in so that’s the most sensible thing to do.

concernedforthefuture Fri 22-Feb-19 21:14:25

It's not very scientific but I know that mine are properly poorly when they show no interest in chocolate smile

SinkGirl Fri 22-Feb-19 21:27:09

His temp before bed was 37.0 exactly and I’ve just checked on him and he’s a normal temp, breathing fine, sleeping normally. I’ll see how hr does over her next few hours -,he’s not even coughing right now whereas the last few nights he’s been coughing so much.

I really thought he was getting over it as he was much more like himself today. Hopefully he will have an uneventful night’s sleep but will be extra cautious.

MumUnderTheMoon Fri 22-Feb-19 21:43:14

I'm currently having a similar dilemma my dd has ASD but she's 11. Also of people on the spectrum don't respond to pain or discomfort in the usual way so this makes things hard eg my dd went to her cousins and built Lego with a broken arm and none of us (including sil who is a trainee nurse) suspected a thing until the next day. She told us she was fine. The only thing I can say is be cautious. All medical professionals know that it's trickier when kids have ASD and act accordingly. This may be something you have to get used to so let yourself off the hook a bit your allowed to worry and your his mum you really do know him best so I can only imagine if something was seriously wrong you'd be on your way to hospital.

MumUnderTheMoon Fri 22-Feb-19 21:43:41

I'm currently having a similar dilemma my dd has ASD but she's 11. Also of people on the spectrum don't respond to pain or discomfort in the usual way so this makes things hard eg my dd went to her cousins and built Lego with a broken arm and none of us (including sil who is a trainee nurse) suspected a thing until the next day. She told us she was fine. The only thing I can say is be cautious. All medical professionals know that it's trickier when kids have ASD and act accordingly. This may be something you have to get used to so let yourself off the hook a bit your allowed to worry and your his mum you really do know him best so I can only imagine if something was seriously wrong you'd be on your way to hospital.

SinkGirl Fri 22-Feb-19 21:58:18

It can be so hard to differentiate between anxiety and legitimate concerns! My feeling now is that he’s okay and needs a good sleep but will check him through the night.

When we picked them up from nursery on Monday there was a little boy with the same thing - high temp, cold feet, looked out of it. Whatever this bug is, it’s a nasty one! Hope your DD is okay.

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