Friday, February 15, 2013

Diagnostic Advise

It has hit again.  The dreaded Strep has once again invaded the Lord household. 

After almost 10 years (wow I feel old) of parenting three children, I have learned to diagnois Strep with staggering accuracy.  My mom tells me that as children, my sisters and I loved to pass Strep back and forth to each other.  Apparently, it is hereditary.  Both my sister and I (and husbands and kids) have a knack for spreading the Strep germs.  In the infamous summer/fall of 2007 we had Strep over 20 times between our two families.  Thankfully, my sister and nephew got their tonsils out and we have not seen nearly as much strep.  However, at least once or twice a year, someone gets it.

This time, it is poor Tanner.  Of course, Strep has a way of invading the house at the most inconvenient times (not that there is every a convenient time to have this nastiness).  Last time it invaded the Luebcke house, Dan was on a 2 week trip to Poland and Julie was crazy busy trying to keep the household running and working and..... you know.  The infamous summer/fall of 2007 I got Strep the night that my father-in-law died in an accident at Lake Powell and then my 2 year old had it at the funeral 5 days later.  How is that for horrible timing?  So, when it hit this weekend while we are up at the family cabin in Fairplay, I can't say I am surprised. 

So, let me give you some sage advise from a woman who has had Strep A LOT and who is seemingly swimming in Strep bacteria.

The number one most important question that I ask people who are trying to diagnosis Strep is, "how did you sleep last night?".  What?  You mean it isn't "does your throat hurt?".  Nope.  #1 diagnostic took: your sleeping patterns.  If you have Strep, you feel like you can't get comfortable and you are literally awake all night long.  Tanner slept with me last night (after I suspected that he might have Strep) and guess what?  I am pretty sure that I was woken up (needing a drink, potty, tossing and turning, almost puking, etc.) every 15 minutes last night.  Torture.  I know that whenever I am questioning if I might have Strep, I just have to try to sleep at night.  If sleep avails me, then get to the dr. first thing in the morning.  If I slept pretty good......most likely not Strep.

Sign #2.  Once again.....not throat hurting.  Does your stomach hurt?  Usually nausea is a very good sign that you have strep (if accompanied by sore throat and difficulty sleeping- get to the Dr. ASAP).  Especially if you have stomach cramps but no diarrhea (and don't usually puke, but sometimes you do).  I have actually taken my kids to get a strep test without them having a sore throat.  The dr. or nurse always gives me strange look and then the "I'll just humor her" look and they do the test.  5 minutes later they come into the room TOTALLY amazed and apologetic saying "you were right, they have Strep".

Sign #3.  Does your/their breath smell really bad?  If so, straight to the dr.  I could always taste and sometimes even smell my own nasty breath when I had Strep.  And today when I took Tanner into the dr., she looked in his mouth and said, based on the puss in his throat and the way his breath smells, I can tell that this test is going to be positive.  Also, does their voice sound funny, like there is a ton of gunk in there?

Sign #4.  Is your kid being a whiny pill?  I mean, way more than usual?  My kids always turn into a weepy, whiny mess a day or two before the other Strep symptoms show up.  Strange I know.  Usually this is one of the hindsight symptoms.  Like after they get a sore throat, fever, bad breath, you start to they have been kind of a pill lately.

Sign #5.  Okay, now you can ask "does your throat hurt?".  If you look in the back of the throat and there are puss filled zit looking things (I know nasty), then you know what you are dealing with.  Usually they have to be pretty far gone in the Strep process for these babies to show up.

I will say that most time (at least 80-90%) I take me or the kids in for a Strep test it is positive.  It is because I have learned these tell tale signs. 

Here is the best part (or I should say one of many) of having a sister (especially one with Strep experience): if I am questioning if my kids have Strep I just give her a ring.  She says "how did they sleep last night?, Do they have a stomach ache?, how is their breath, did you look in their throat?  Are they talking funny?  And then she says "yes, take them in!".  Guess what?  It works both ways.  I do the same for her.  Sometimes it is just nice to have someone you can call for back up when you are doubting yourself as a mother.  If you ever need someone sisterly to call about Strep, give me a call (or just refer back to this)!

I hope all of you (and the rest of us) remain Strep free!

P.S.  I had a dr. once tell me that Strep is NEVER accompanied by a cough (and I have found this to be true).  So if they are coughing, save yourself the co-pay and guess that they probably have a sore throat from drainage from a cold.

P.P.S.  Strep gets way worse the longer you wait to get it treated.  SO DON'T WAIT.  It is an easy throat swab, a 5 minute wait for the diagnosis and then a prescription for an antibiotic and you are feeling SO much better within a few hours.  However, if you wait a few days before you go in, the recovery time is way longer!

P.P.S.S.  Don't eat or drink anything (including gum) for at least 15 minutes before they swab you or it can show up as a false negative.

Can you tell that I have a lot of Strep experience?

No comments:

Post a Comment