When The Toddler Falls Sick…

It sure feels like it’s the end of the world when the toddler falls sick. Exhaustion kicks in and eating feels like a chore because all you want to do is sleep. As I am typing right now, my son is crying in his room and I have no clue as to why. He rejected milk, food, didn’t want to be carried to sleep, so I’m here in front of the keyboard with my headphones because I seriously need a break! The daddy sure knows how to be out of the home at the right time. It is some weird phenomenon that the daddy chooses every time to be out at a time when the baby acts up. Kudos to all mummies around the world who have held the fort alone with incessant crying and screaming! A word of encouragement to new mothers – it will eventually cease when the baby grows tired of the tantrum knowing he is not getting anything out of it.

The fun part when the toddler falls sick is the visit to the doctors. Well, we pay consultation fees, so I make full use of their time and knowledge by asking many many questions. I learn something new on every visit to the doctor.

I shall recount the first time my son saw the GP (Dr Ong). She is a mother herself, and was trained in Canada. I like her vibe – friendly and nurturing. My son was having some flu symptoms, and I was expecting some medication to be prescribed. But she tells me (to my surprise) that it is not advisable to ‘drug’ him with medication because he’s not 18 months yet. Let his immune system heal the body on its own. I say I was surprised because the doctors in Singapore are always quick to prescribe medicine. I am not a pro-medicine person, so I took it well in my stride. I haven’t taken any flu medication for a few years and my body heals on its own. We don’t give enough credit to the work of our immune system. It’s God-given, use it! True enough, my son got well a few days later, without any medication šŸ™‚

Now, he’s hit with bronchitis. I brought him first to see the GP. Unfortunately our favourite Dr Ong is on maternity leave so we saw another doctor (Dr Chen). He reported there was phlegm in his left lung, and concluded it could either be pneumonia or bronchitis. Dr Chen then prepared to dispense 4 various medication (antibiotics, cough mixture, sinus reliever, paracetemol) which gave me a shock. Doesn’t this prove my point that Singapore doctors just want to ‘sell’ as much medication as possible? We got home and placed all the medicine in the fridge, didn’t give any to my son except paracetemol for the fever. Next day, I brought him to the PD (Dr Tan) for a 2nd opinion. She confirmed it’s bronchitis because there was phlegm in both his lungs. I learnt that bronchitis is less severe than pneumonia, so it’s better to have phlegm in both lungs than one lung. Great that we got the lesser evil of the two. Relieving? Yes. I consulted Dr Tan about giving antibiotics and she said I could wait 1 more day to see if the fever breaks. If it comes back, she advised that we give it to him because it would be the 6th day he was feverish. Thankfully, the fever left for good. I did a mini research online about antibiotics, and there is apparently an overuse of it in the world. For one, it has no effect on virus, and most of our common illnesses are viral. Virus just takes time to run its course and bronchitis is caused by RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). Important lesson learnt. My motherly instinct in this case not to give antibiotics was right. But when doctors prescribe antibiotics, they probably suspect it’s a bacterial infection, and that’s when antibiotics might work. My son’s appetite and activity level increased when the fever broke which was a good sign of healing šŸ™‚

I think I baffle and stump doctors when I don’t want to take any medication because most patients see them to get medicine. So there was a time when one doctor actually said he would leave the medication at the counter, and if I changed my mind 3 days later, I can come back to purchase it. That’s a fabulous arrangement. I save money and I don’t have bottles of medicine taking up space in my fridge. I never had to go back to get the medication because my son got well within the next 3 days.

Point to self – medication is not always necessary. Thanks to Dr Ong for sharing this knowledge. And also to friends who have brought their toddlers to the doctors in Australia and Canada, to learn that they don’t prescribe medication for young children. Incidentally, a friend’s toddler son residing in Perth had bronchitis, and he got through it with zero medication. Isn’t our immune system amazing?

Parenthood has become my best educator, in all sense of what ‘education’ truly means – Never Stop Learning.


2 Replies to “When The Toddler Falls Sick…”

    1. Hello! It’s encouraging to hear another mum having the same view. The Singapore health guideline for giving paracetemol to toddlers is for fever hitting 37.5degC but I only give it when it hits 38degC and above. I believe when we let our children’s bodies fight the virus on its own, it strengthens their immune system and they grow up healthier in the long run.

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