Okay so if you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard this story already, but it bears repeating because this is something that I feel that strongly about.
Last week, on Thursday, The Maestro woke up with a fever and nasal congestion. So he stayed home from Pre-K and I treated his fever with fluids, fever reducers and lots of rest. The fever persisted off and on until Sunday afternoon, when I finally bit the bullet and took him to urgent care. There he was tested for Strep Throat and Flu. The Strep test came back negative, but the flu swap had to be sent to lab. In the mean time, the doctor gave me two prescriptions-one for a cough syrup that would also treat his nasal congestion and Tamiflu, the popular drug used to treat flu symptoms in people of all ages. I had heard of children have very violent reactions to Tamiflu, so I asked the doctor about it.
She got offended. She got mad. How dare I question her? Well, lady-you may be an MD, but I’m a MOM and I was just curious, so back off. As we checked out the nurse told us they would call us if the flu swap came back positive. I asked how long that would take and she said 3-7 days. WTF??? THREE to SEVEN DAYS??? And what if it isn’t the flu, but some other nasty viral infection (influenza is a viral infection y’all, meaning antibiotics are useless against it.)? The nurse told me to go ahead and give my four year old son the Tamiflu…just in case.
Y’all…I did not feel reassured. First of all, Tamiflu is only useful at shortening the flu, not stopping it. Secondly, it’s only good at shortening the flu if given within the first 48 hours. We were on day four of fever and nasal congestion (but no chills or body aches). However, I took myself and my sick son over to the pharmacy to get the medicine I was no longer sure about. Once there I asked the pharmacist the same question I asked the doctor…”Is this safe to give a small child?”.
THANK THE GODS for my pharmacist. She didn’t get offended. She didn’t get mad. She told me first of all, she hadn’t ever heard of anything personally, but also she had never personally given the Tamiflu to children or even taken it herself. However, she did look up the information on the drug and read me the list of potential side effects:
- Vomiting (chronic and non-stop)
- Stomach pains
The more serious side effects include:
- Sudden confusion
- Unusual behavior
Y’all…read that list again…the common side effects are worse than the flu itself, and still mean you’d have to miss school and work. As for the more serious (yet rarer) side effects? HELL to the NO. I do not need my four year old running about crazy and delirious. More and more doctors are agreeing with moms that Tamiflu should NOT be given to children.
And I decided to agree with them as well. Like I said, Tamiflu is only effective if given at the beginning of symptoms, not in the middle of it and at that point we were on day four. Secondly, the side effects outweighed the cost in my book. So I got the cough syrup, stocked up on more fever reducer and went home and continued to give the Maestro lots of rest and fluids, mainly water and some OJ.
That was Sunday, today is Tuesday and the only reason my son isn’t in school today is because yesterday he woke up and still had a slight fever. He’s probably okay, but I decided to let him play hooky for one more day of rest. Tomorrow he will go back to school healthy again, which is the earliest he would have gone back to school had I given him the Tamiflu, that is if he didn’t have a major reaction to it. Turns out I made the right call.
So Mamas-trust your gut. And no judgement if you do take Tamiflu yourself or give it to your littles. Just be informed, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and never apologize for being paranoid mamas.