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My Encounter with Mycoplasma Pneumonia

A big scare for my little one

ill girl with paper tissueIt all began at the start of the year-end holiday when we were at a mall having dinner. My two-year-old daughter, Jie En, was having her usual favourite bowl of handmade noodles when she vomited and became unwell. She felt warm to the touch and we knew something wasn’t right. We took her temperature upon reaching home and sure enough, our little girl had a fever of 39.1°C. Little did we know, it was the start of an intense battle with an unknown enemy.

Taking Bifen and Paracetamol every three hours became her daily ritual for the first five days. On the third day, a trip to the general practitioner’s clinic did not reveal much about her current state of illness. She was still running a temperature of about 38°C despite all the fever medication. On the fifth day, we were all delighted when her temperature fell below 37°C and we just needed to rely on one medication, Paracetamol. Continuing the Paracetamol on the fifth day, to be on the safe side, we thought that we could finally say “Bye bye fever!” Unfortunately, that was only a temporary respite.

More than a Simple Cough

“Hack, hack, hack!” Jie En started coughing. We brushed it aside, thinking it was part of a flu bug running its full course. There were times when she coughed almost immediately after milk feeds, even regurgitating the milk and vomiting.  On Day 7, two days after the fever had cleared up, she started feeling sluggish and weak. Her temperature shot back up to 38°C. This was a ‘Code Red’ situation for us – a recurring fever with a cough after the first onset of fever is not a good sign. My maternal instincts prompted me to exercise vigilance and contact her paediatrician Dr Lim Kwang Hsien of Mount Alvernia’s Kinder Clinic.

To our dismay, Dr Lim happened to be away for a vacation. We would not be able to see him till the next week when he resumed clinic sessions at the hospital. This wasn’t good news for us at all. Just looking at our little one, I could tell she was feeling very sluggish and tired. Her coughing seemed to be from deep in her lungs and she also vomited when she coughed after her milk feeds. My intuition told me that this wasn’t a ‘normal’ cough from a cold.

Help on the Way

We decided to drop Dr Lim a message to inform him of our situation. We received a reply from him shortly after and were told to see him at the clinic the next day, even though he wasn’t supposed to have any clinic sessions.

The night seemed extremely long with a poor, sick toddler who couldn’t even articulate what form of discomfort she was experiencing. She couldn’t sleep well with all the coughing. Her tiny stomach couldn’t hold the milk she drank. To help her with this, we offered her smaller milk feeds. We gave her Pediasure as we needed a meal supplement for her to make up for her not eating well. We were also concerned about giving her cow’s milk as it increased the mucous secretion in her system, resulting in much more phlegm.

A Kinder Touch

Bright and early in the morning, we sped down to Mount Alvernia’s Kinder Clinic. Dr Lim was ready and waiting for us, and attending to some newborn cases at the same time. He listened to Jie En’s lungs and immediately diagnosed her with a chest infection, and told us that there was phlegm in her lungs. Dr Lim recommended that Jie En be put on nebuliser (inhalable medicine) and antibiotics. The next review would be three days later.

We followed Dr Lim’s advice rigorously. Jie En stopped looking sluggish and fatigued and began to get more active. We learned that we needed her to cough out the phlegm as it was trapped in her lungs, and we were taught how to apply physiotherapy on her to help clear her lungs.

However, the cough still hadn’t disappeared by the next Monday. During the follow-up review, we heard that her lungs were still filled with phlegm. That warranted some blood tests to be carried out. Dr Lim ordered a test for mycoplasma antibodies. We went home, anxiously waiting for the results of the test. By evening, Dr Lim gave us a call informing us that Jie En had a positive test for the mycoplasma bacteria. He arranged for us to pick up Klacid (a wide spectrum antibiotic for such bacteria) from the Kinder Clinic.

Turning Point at Last

Back home, we started Jie En on the stronger antibiotic Klacid. This was the turning point in all that incessant coughing and phlegm. Jie En was able to sleep soundly through the night without coughing. We continued with the treatment plan and went for another review two days later. Although her lungs had some residual phlegm, at least her level of activeness was back to normal. We went on a short family trip to Bangkok following that review. Our girl enjoyed herself throughout the whole trip and we were glad not to hear her coughing as much as before. We knew that her medicine was working well.

We felt we made the right decision to seek specialist help when faced with a fever that lingered for so many days, followed by a cough that wasn’t showing improvement. Many parents like myself would simply use the standard cough syrup to treat a cough. We learned that it’s extremely important to be vigilant at all times when our child is unwell, observing not only the temperature, but also the overall presentation of our little one.

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Elena Lau
Posted by ezyhealth on Feb 3 2015. Filed under PERSONAL STORY. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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