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Newborn and Infant Care

Chronic fevers/ illness

04/11/2007

Question:

My daughter is 9 mos. and seems to constantly be sick. She has had several ear infections and viruses, but most of all she seems to get fevers out of the blue. These can be anywhere from a month to two weeks apart. they typically last about 5 days. They can spike to about 104.7, which scares me that she may go into a fever seizure. I switch betwwen motrin and tylenol, which may take her fever down to about 100. This worries me because three years prior my son passed, he was constantly sick as well with respiratory and ear infections. I dont want anything to happen to my daughter. Like before we are at a dead end with doctors. Any advice?? Thanks so much for your time!

Answer:

How incredibly difficult for you! It truly sounds as though your daughter's immune system is not functioning well. This would account for your child's numerous illnesses. Since your son had a similar problem, it would suggest that there is a an inherited tendency toward an impaired immune function. It is possible that they have inherited Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome or SCIDS or something similar. It is often difficult to know this runs in a family until a child is affected. 

I strongly recommend that you ask for a referral to a pediatric allergy/immunologist. If you are in the state of Ohio, I highly recommend Dr. Melvin Berger at Rainbow Babies and Children Hospital in Cleveland. His office number is 216-844-3236. You can also make an appointment on-line at http://www.uhhospitals.org/rainbowchildren/tabid/1593/phyID/127/cmd/map/default.aspx He specializes in the care of children with impaired immune function. If you are not in the state of Ohio, ask for a referral to a pediatric allergy/immunology specialist at your nearest Children's Hospital.

I wish you the best of luck in finding an answer and enjoying many years with your daughter.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University