Today, I want to talk about The Great ‘Strepidemic’ of May 2017. Actually, it wasn’t great at all. It was horrible. Two people in my family got strep. I probably had it as well, at some point, but I think my body flushed it. I started to shoot a video last week while we were all still in the trenches, but I ended up stopping because I felt so awful. We’re going to include a part of that video and then we’ll come back and talk about what we did during our week of the plague.
Our house got hit pretty hard. Two members of the family have strep. I probably had it, and the other two are just full of snot. I want to talk about what it looked like because it’s probably the sickest our oldest has ever been, and it’s been miserable. I want to share what we’ve done to make her a little more comfortable. As you can see, I was definitely not really feeling very well, not quite up to par, so we decided to just go ahead and stop that video and wait until I was feeling a little bit better.
As I mentioned, my oldest got strep throat and then, a few days later, my husband went in and was diagnosed with strep. I was checked the next day to be sure I didn’t have strep because strep throat is nothing to fiddle around with. Number one, it’s horribly painful and awful. Most people aren’t going to sit at home and be like, “I don’t want to go to the doctor,” because this is nasty.
Strep is a bacterial infection that can be knocked out with antibiotics. It’s super important, if you think you have strep, to go have it checked out. This was brought home to us in a personal way when a close family friend had untreated strep and now, in her 60’s, it has led to heart problems due to unrecognized strep bacteria. [See information link below]. When there’s a possibility of strep throat, that’s one of the things I will run straight off to the doctor for. We got our daughter tested as soon as I realized that this wasn’t just a nasty cold.
I realized it wasn’t just a cold…because for a few days prior, she had been sick, she had a runny nose and a slight fever, nothing too crazy. She had actually gotten sick in the night and thrown up, and I thought, “Well, maybe it’s just the flu.” Then the fever broke and she started feeling better, and I thought, “Great. Awesome, she’s feeling better.” However, a couple days later, the fever returned, and when I talked to the nurse at the doctor’s office, she said, “You need to come in. A fever that comes back is usually indicative of a secondary infection,” which would make sense. As soon as the fever returned, it wasn’t in the 99 – 100 range. It was 101 – 102 degrees, more like 102 and that’s when I started to pay really close attention. We went to the doctor and it was actually almost 103 when we got there, so we went not a moment too soon.
The diagnosis, “I think you have strep throat” and our oldest was sitting there saying, “I feel fine. I feel fine.” She’s shivering, 103-degree temperature, you know. “I feel fine.” To test her they used the really long Q-tips and the nurse was really great. She actually let my oldest touch it to see what it felt like. She explained step-by-step what was going to happen. My oldest was definitely not interested in having it done, but it helped that she got to touch the Q-tip and kind of understand what was going to happen. I also said, “Hey, would it help your feelings if I let her do it to me?” Nah, not really so much, but anyways, we got it done.
The nurse swabbed down in her throat, and when she pulled it out, there was mucus on it, and she said, “Look. What does that look like?” My oldest goes, “It looks like toots.” Toots is what she calls germs. It’s from a Curious George episode she watched years ago. The word stuck, I guess. Fortunately, they do the rapid strep testing. Within five minutes, we knew that she had strep. The doctor came in and prescribed a 10-day round of the amoxicillin. It’s still the liquid stuff from my childhood. It tastes like bubblegum, cherry cake, you know, so kids will actually drink it. We picked it up on Friday, and started the 10-day round.
I wish the fix had been as easy as starting the antibiotics, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. Coupled with strep was a nasty, nasty cough. I mean, like coughing so hard she was turning red hacking the junk out of her chest. The congestion was probably a secondary cold, I’m guessing, or remnants of the flu, maybe, that she had before the strep diagnosis.
Fortunately, I had some prescribed Robitussin cough syrup and after the first night, I realized nobody was going to get any sleep if the coughing continued. I called the nurse and asked if I could give that to her. It was the stuff that has the codeine in it. She actually said yes, because amoxicillin doesn’t have many drug interactions. It’s pretty easily mixed with other medicine, when necessary. It was night three that we started the Robitussin. I was desperate for sleep and we were desperate for her to get some sleep.
Anyway, we took this little video in the middle of the strepidemic showing what we had done in my daughter’s room to help alleviate some of her symptoms and to help her feel better. We set up her room for comfort. We elevated her mattress and we had a humidifier going. She had her very own box of tissues. She felt like a very big girl. These are mostly tricks I’ve learned from the internet, hopefully to set up her room to help with her horrible cough at night.
I wanted to show you two things we’ve done, we’ve got a cool mist humidifier, which is great because it allows you to…you can either do just a little bit of steam, or you can crank up the steam. I’ve the moist air blowing up right onto her mattress towards her face. She may not like the damp, but I think it’s better than being dry. The other thing I’ve got going on here is underneath her mattress. I’ve put pillows from the couch… you can kind of see that the mattress is at an angle to try and help with some of her drainage and to help her be able to breathe out of her nose. I think it’s helped, but the last few nights have been pretty bad, so here’s hoping the medicine kicks in soon and tonight will be a better night.
We’ve done a lot of homemade chicken soup. My daughter loves the Zero Vitamin water, the ones which are sweetened with Stevia so we got a bunch of those and have let her have way more of that than usual. After the medicine and soup we are all feeling quite a bit better. Yeah, as you can tell, I don’t sound like I’m dying anymore. I know that humidifier and all the rest was helpful, but in this situation, the antibiotics were really where it’s at. I’m super grateful that we live in a day and time where we can get tested for this stuff, and get antibiotics. I really hope that none of you get strep, and that none of your babies have strep, because it was not a lot of fun. But take heart, antibiotics will help and get you feeling better pretty soon.
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Here is an issue that can be caused by untreated strep throat.
- Rheumatic Fever. Untreated strep throat or other infections with strep bacteria that progress to rheumatic fever can cause heart valve disease. When the body tries to fight the strep infection, one or more heart valves may be damaged or scarred in the process. The aortic and mitral valves most often are affected.