Thursday, January 12, 2006

The ugliest vaccine

Unfortunately for Baby, there's a meningococcal B epidemic in New Zealand. There is a vaccination program, but it requires several jabs over several months and each jab makes her utterly miserable.

Yesterday Baby had her five-month vaccinations, and her third and last meningococcal B (Mens b) vaccination. Contrary to the nurse's assurance that most babies don't get so unwell with the third one, the poor wee scrap is feeling very poorly indeed. When I went in to give her the 10pm feed last night, I just about scalded my hands on her feverish skin.

2.5 mls of Pamol (Paracetamol for babies) and two hours of cuddling and rocking later, she was finally back in her cot asleep.

Until 3am, that is. Baby marked her 22-week birthday with a scream that threatened to burst my ear drums (I was sleeping in the spare bed in her room).

"Time for some more Pamol", I thought. Despite it's supposedly "pleasant" taste, Baby sure doesn't like it; we've always had to syringe the stuff into the side of her mouth a little at a time, to minimise spit-up. On the fifth and final squirt, an ominous gurgle came from the back of her throat and before I could say "where's the tissues?" she'd puked up the entire dosage - as well what looked to be her total milk intake for the last three feeds.

"Oh good job, Violet" I silently muttered as I attempted to mop up the baby, my lap and the rug, not only was she not medicated but I'd have to wait at least four hours before I could try again, and she was now hungry, dehydrated and exhausted as well.

One good thing came of it though; all that regurgitated liquid cooling on her body seemed to help with her temperature.

Needless to say there wasn't much sleep to be had by either of us, and I can look forward to another night just like it. But I was not at all pleased to see that Baby's so-called third and final Mens b jabwill not be the last one after all .

15 comments:

onscreen said...

We've discovered that there is more than one flavour available when it comes to Pamol. And my kids only like the red stuff so I have to be careful to make sure the pharmacy doesn't give us the orange stuff!

As for vaccianation, after some research we decided not to vaccinate our kids for Meningococcal B. The epidemic wasn't really an epidemic, and the vaccination wasn't all that reliable. Add to that news today that two fully vaccinated babies have contracted Men B, and it makes you wonder (well it makes me wonder) why they spent so much money promoting a vaccine and didn't look at other factors such as living conditions, diet etc.

But don't get me wrong, I think you're a great mum for vaccinating bub, it' just a personal preference is all.....

onscreen said...

Oh, and by the way, I got another bl**dy pop-up just now when I visited you blog. Same one as last time :-(

Make Tea Not War said...

Poor Violet. It's horrible having a sick baby with a high temperature. Just horrible. After we had one such incident the Plunkett nurse said to me be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to get over it because that kind of thing is very upsetting. Don't know if that helps you but it helped me.

Incidentally, I don't know if you know this but you can get Neurofen for babies. I'm not entirely sure from what age you can use it but I think it's more effective than Pamol.

flying kiwi said...

Poor baby. And I have an idea of what her post-vaccine screams are like.

Does the word "vaccine" have anything to do with cows?

Rainypete said...

We've been lucky that neither of the wee ones has reacted to a vaccine so far.
-- Crossing my fingers for continued luck --

Avery's mom said...

sorry to hear the babe was so sick. I hate having to take avery to get her shots. it stinks to see them so weak and miserable. thankfully I havent had to deal with her vomiting up medicine yet. that sounds awful. Good luck to you and I hope your kiddo is doing better

Nyx said...

God that takes me back. Our first vaccine for Little Miss 9 resulted in her sleeping it off for almost the next 24 hours. False sense of security as the rest of them were not like that at all.

Violet said...

onscreen: I've always been in favour of vaccinations, though this time I'm really wondering whether we made the right choice esp. considering the doubts about its efficacy. On the other hand, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if Baby came down with Mens b and I hadn't let her get the jabs...

Sorry 'bout the popups. I really have no idea why they appear with this blog and no other, even with the pop-up blocks. Hope it doesn't put you off reading it.

mtnw: Thankfully her fever's gone, but she's still whiny esp. when I try to put her to bed. I wonder whether she's got nausea, one of the possible side effects. I'll look into the Nurofen thing, though Pamol was the one the nurse told us to use.

flying kiwi: I've no idea. Is "vaccine" related to "bovine"?

rainypete: you're so lucky. Baby hasn't been sick at all in her short life, except when she's been vaccinated or when we've been trying to medicate her <:-(

avery's mom: I wonder why baby's medications aren't made to taste like breastmilk...

llcoffee: I was hoping like anything that this time the side effects on Baby would be extended sleepiness, but unfortunately for her it was reduced sleepiness.

happyandblue2 said...

Glad you are getting lots of baby comments.
It really won't be all that long until most of the baby things will be history. Although I guess at this point in time it doesn't seem that way.
Hang in there. You're doing great..

Kristin said...

Ugh. I have been procrastinating getting Nolan's 4-month shots for this very reason.

Hope both baby and you feel much better.

Violet said...

happyandblue2: it must be one of those things (like childbirth) which mothers supposedly forget over time - enough to decide to have another baby!

kristin: Baby's much better now, thanks, although she's still a little whiny and shyer than normal. Your Nolan will probably not have the same problems, because a)he probably won't get the Meningoccal B vaccine and b) because he might just sleep it off (I recall that's what he did with his last vaccinations). Good luck...

Gekko said...

Re Pamol - you could always try ibuprofen. We've found the infant formulations work faster and are more consistent at managing temps. The only drawback is that the child needs to have had food reasonably recently.
At the very least it allows for almost constant medication by interleaving the Pamol and ibuprofen.

Violet said...

gekko: you mean that it's okay to use two different medications at the same time? But that would just mean twice as much chance of a big-time vomit...

Gekko said...

Hi Violet

I wouldn't go as far as to say it's ok to use both at the same time (especially not being medically qualified) but I've found they can both be used in concert as part of a strategy to manage temperatures for sanity, sleep and peace-of-mind.

Just some brief background on this: my daughter had a big febrile seizure at age two due to a temperature spike which required hospitalisation making me extremely paranoid about managing temperatures.

There are at least two cases where I have found the practise useful:

1) In most of my experience, the useful effects of paracetamol based medications wear off long before the requisite 5-6 hour dosage period. So there were usually some 3+ hours where the risk of high temperatures meant that tepid baths and cold flannels were liberally applied to an increasingly unhappy child in an attempt to stave off another seizure until we could apply the next dose of medication.
Interleaving the doses of the ibuprofen and paracetamol every 3-4 hours or so meant that she was always covered by medication that was actually doing some useful temperature management so she wasn't exposed to long periods of very high temperature.
The only trick with this is that the chances of ibuprofen coming back at you are reduced if the child has recently had food so its just a case of planning which med is given when.

2) The scenario you faced where the medication is rejected - when this has happened to me it has been comforting to know that there is another medication to try that might not suffer the same reaction (and usually didn't) rather than having to sit out 4-6 hours of spiking temps.

As an aside, when I have had to go to hospital for later temperature spikes that looked like they might cause a seizure (but luckily didn't), the doses of paracetamol that were given there were higher than those stated for Pamol. The nurse told me that there is a wide margin of error on the commercial products and that the hospitals use a more accurate calculation scale based on weight rather than age. (She did tell me what the formula was but I don't have it any more.) The upshot was that taking age and weight into account we were actually able to give her 10mg rather than 5 mg of paracetamol based medication which had a near miraculous effect on temperatures. Where 5 mg wouldn't touch a temp, the 10mg dose often worked a charm.

Anyway, obviously don't use these as medical recommendations - they are just my experiences with a child prone to spiking temperatures, and having two meds to choose from was a great relief.

Violet said...

your poor daughter! It must have been bloody scary for you. That does sound like a good idea, to use ibuprofen if she's projectile-vomited the pamol already. I was advised once that it is okay to give a fifth dose (recommended dose is a maximum of four in any 24 hour period) if it's really necessary, though at the time it turned out that I was able to settle her with a few extra hours of rocking. But it's definitely something I'll keep in mind for future fevers. Thanks.