Saturday, 27 July 2013

Antihistamines, life or death

All medicine cupboards should include a bottle of antihistamines.

Last night my husband and I experienced a night of acting in auto pilot. I'm still processing it now. Sometime yesterday my son came in contact with something that didn't agree with him.

At 955pm he awoke commenting that his leg was itchy. In the light of the bathroom I checked out what was bothering him.

A rash had developed behind both knees, elsewhere a bright red rash behind, under and around his ear spreading to his cheeks which were now flushed hot red with a soft puffiness. His hands had a rash also, spreading up his arm to his elbow. Alerting my husband to inspect and bring his phone he began taking photos of affected areas. I went straight to the medicine cupboard and almost automatically reached for the bottle of antihistamines putting aside the 'itchy bite cream'. My husband administered the dosage while I called the 24 hour nurses at Healthdirect Australia*.

I spoke to a nurse who walked me through all the symptoms, asked questions and after her assessment suggested hives as the cause of the itchiness and explained that she'd keep me on the line while she called 000. I had been on the phone since 10pm with both the nurse and the paramedic monitoring his symptoms. The antihistamines slowly kicked in after 30 mins. The main concern with his condition was breathing. Swelling was increasing around his little face, chin and mouth. His breathing becoming a little difficult. "My mouth feels funny... my tummy hurts... I feel sad mummy" he was saying. It was truly heartbreaking to watch him, yet, surprising myself, my pregnant hormones didn't let my emotions take over. He was so very brave, so calm and so articulate. I believe his Guardian Angel was with him. My husband calm, supportive and in control at all times.

Timing is paramount and within forty minutes of my son's awareness of his itchiness, an ambulance had arrived. The paramedics, my son and husband left for the local hospital. On the way, the paramedics confirmed to my husband that any longer and he would have been critical. We had been extremly fortunate to get the antihistamines into his little body before the swelling in his throat would no longer allow swallowing. 

He arrived at the hospital soon after and was administered steroids. 

All under control and with much relief he was discharged within hours. Thank God.

Ever faithful 'Doggy' was at his side in the ambulance

The only reason I had even heard of antihistamines was because sometime last year my daughter developed a rash, which by the time I got down to the chemist, had disappeared. The caring assistant could see that I was a 'new mother' and recommended I have a bottle of antihistamines on hand in case something like this happened in the future.

If that particular visit to the chemist had not occurred, I cannot begin to imagine his fate last night. Now we begin the next chapter of working with an immunologist.

Please, if you haven't already, speak to your chemist or doctor about purchasing a bottle of antihistamines for your medicine cupboard.

I am so thankful to the chemist, the nurse, the paramedics and the emergency team at the hospital. How blessed we are to live in a country where we have readily available medical assistance. 

*Healthdirect Australia is a 24 hour phone health advice line staffed by Registered Nurses

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