Saturday, November 21, 2009

Don't jump off!

Tobioricha dame!

The Pumpkin Princess went back to day care Friday. The rule is that a child with H1N1 must stay at home for at least five days and have a "proof of recovery" signed by his or her pediatrician. Since the Pumpkin Princess was fever free by day 2, we went to the doctor on the morning of the fifth day and asked for (and got) the necessary paperwork signed.

No one else caught it from the Pumpkin Princess. The hand washing paid off or the virus was a watered down version or a combination of both.

I understand that Japan is unusual in that we get Tamiflu so easily. And yes, I wonder if it is really necessary for basically healthy kids like the Pumpkin Princess. Giving the Pumpkin Princess Tamiflu was an interesting experience. It was the first time anyone in our immediate family had taken it. The pharmacist told us it was bitter when mixed with vanilla ice cream or yogurt, and suggested mixing it in chocolate ice cream or cocoa. The first day, while her fever was still quite high, she cried that it was bitter and didn't want to take it (even in chocolate ice cream). After some convincing (and threatening), we did manage to get her to take it, and went to bed. The next day, she was much better physically. However, she was even more prone to temper tantrums than usual, and when she was not throwing temper tantrums, she was constantly giggling and climbing on and jumping off the furniture. If she were a little older and if this strange hyperactivity were a little more severe, I can easily see her jumping off the balcony, like the teenage boy who took Tamiflu for his flu and died when he jumped off the balcony of his high rise apartment.

My friend's daughter who did the whole H1N1-Tamiflu thing 2 weeks ago was also jumping off the furniture once her fever went down and she was feeling better. My other friend's son couldn't take or keep down the Tamiflu because it was too bitter. His fever lasted for a couple of days, but he never had a "can we peel him off the ceiling" thing going, and now he's just fine. So I don't really know if the Tamiflu helps or hinders. I expect the authorities on the subject will put out a report of some kind at the end of the season. It'll be interesting to see what they say.


Kalamity K said...

In Belgium you don't get Tamiflu (unless of course your doctor says you really need it). There are the side-effects. And I heard that if we gave Tamiflu to every person with the flu, the virus will be resistent for meds like that in a couple of years.
Weird how every country has its own approach of the flu. Somehow, I don't find that very comforting. Like nobody REALLY knows what to do.

pumpkinmommy said...

I think Belgium makes more sense than Japan. The Japanese medical community is notorious for its misuse of antibiotics, and their use of antivirals seems no better. I realize I had the option of not giving the Pumpkin Princess the Tamiflu prescribed, but it works, and since every one else was getting it, I was not going to delay the evolution of resistant strains of the virus by not giving it to her.

Annie Cat said...

Thanks for that warning - I didn't even realize there was that kind of side effect from Tamiflu.

Glad you're all healthy now!

sheri said...

Glad you're all healthy. I don't remember reading about the teen who jumped off his balcony -- I wonder if I just missed it or if they decided to keep it quiet here in the States.

pumpkinmommy said...

(Warning: former pediatrician wannabe/ overinformed mommy geek talk alert! You have been warned!)

In the winter of 2004, there was a Japanese teenage boy who got garden variety flu, and was prescribed and took Tamiflu. Within 2 hours of taking the medication, he jumped off or fell off the 9th floor balcony of his apartment and was killed. An autopsy was performed. Tamiflu was not detected in his brain. Severe flu is known to cause brain damage, reversible or otherwise, so it was (and still is) difficult to tell if the fatal hyperactivity was caused by the flu or by the medication. The current opinion of the Japanese Ministry of Health is that the chance of a kid taking Tamiflu doing something fatal is less than the chance of influenza itself being fatal, so the medication is reasonably safe, however, it should not be given to patients older than 10 and younger than 10. The logic is that nearly all parents and grandparents can physically restrain a kid younger than 10 from opening a window and jumping out of it, and when you are 20 years old, logic will prevail over instinct.