Yes, that dreaded word. The day after Christmas my poor child began her battle with this awful bacteria. To answer the question that goes through everyone's mind (Do you know how she got it?), no, I do not know how my sweet angel got it. She could have gotten it in a number of ways. Unfortunately, she had diarrhea for over 2 1/2 weeks. During the first week and a half her fever fluctuated between 102-104 degrees. She was so pitiful. Many times, she would just fall asleep in our arms while cuddling. This is not typical for her. She very much wants to be put down in her bed to go to sleep. While it was very difficult to see her feel so bad, it was nice to be able to cuddle with her. I will say it was a big life lesson in regard to dealing with the healthcare profession. I almost ate a doctor alive. Needless to say, her former doctor did not listen to my instincts. Therefore, we did not find out what was wrong with her until well over 2 weeks, when we could have known much sooner. I have definitely become a salmonella expert in the meantime. So, I thought I might impart some of this wisdom to those who may come in contact with this terrible bacteria below (GOD FORBID):
Important Things to Know in Regard to Salmonella
- Depending on the type of Salmonella, doctors actually prefer not to medicate children for this bacteria unless they have some type of health impairment (immune disease, etc.). Susannah Grace's former doctor recommended an antibiotic. This can actually make matters worse in some case. We did administer it because her fever was so high and it did help bring it down.
- The only way to determine if your child has this bacteria is if your pediatrician takes a stool samples. It takes several days to hear back from the report. However, if you go to Children's After Hours Clinic the lab work is much faster (it's part of Children's so they get lab results much quicker because they are affiliated with Children's Hosp. lab). By the way, I must sing the praises of both Children's After Hours and Children's Hospital. Both intuitions were very thorough and provided adequate information.
- Salmonella has to run it's course, which for a little baby can take MONTHS! Yes, months. Susannah Grace has tested Salmonella for almost 2 months!
- We were told that Susannah Grace must pass 3 stool samples to go back to her in home care program. However, weeks later we were conveniently told by the Alabama Health Department that Susannah Grace could report back to her normal care facility once she did not have diarrhea any longer. She has passed one stool sample test but all of the others have been positive...so frustrating.
- When we first spoke with her former doctor, we were told she was HIGHLY contagious. We found out later that this is NOT TRUE by the health department. The only way it can be passed from person to person is if another child put her fecal matter in their mouth.
Ways to Avoid Salmonella
- Store and cook food properly.
- Clean with lysol or clorox. I now carry a container of lysol wipes in my diaper bag to wipe down any surface Susannah Grace would touch with her precious little fingers. I especially wipe down shopping carts if I do not have my shopping cart cover with me.
- Make sure your child thoroughly washes his or her hand after touching reptiles (we don't have this issue...yuck).
- Carefully wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Make sure your pets haven't left any little reindeer dropping around.
- If you take care of multiple children be sure to wash her hands thoroughly in between diaper changes.
***Please feel free to pass this information along to anyone who needs it. I PRAY they don't ever need it. However, I was pretty helpless when my child had this and found that some of the doctors we saw were not very detail oriented in terms of explaining this bacteria and what we should expect very clearly.