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5 year old with chemical smell in breath, skin turning yellowish and stomach pain. Suggestions?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
Hi. My 5 year old daughter is in bed with what seems to be a stomach flue. However, what strikes me as being odd is the chemical smell of her formaldehyde. She started having stomach pains yesterday and has not eaten much of anything since then. She has managed to keep down liquids since this afternoon after having vomited in the morning. She is fair skinned but she took on a yellowy XXXXXXX tone as she continued feeling sicker. In the night she awoke and said her stomach felt better, but was crying because she had pain in the bend of her knee. I massaged it and she went back to sleep. She has been complaining about pains on her right side for quite some time now....on and off....especially before she needs to go pee. I never knew what to make of it because it was mainly a topic right before bed time and I thought it was more like a dragging out the time thing. Now I feel like I need to have her blood and urine checked. Other than this she seems perfectly healthy and is very active. She still need diapers during the night and it seems to me that her urine smells really strongly.Please tell me if any of these symptoms ring a bell with you.
Posted Wed, 18 Apr 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 6 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
The bad odour in her breath, the yellowness of her string, concentrated urine, stomach pain or pain on right side of abdomen are most likely suggestive of liver involvement like in viral hepatitis, or a gastrointestinal or viral infection, or renal stones but they are less likely.
You are right in thinking that she needs to be investigated, some baseline tests like complete blood counts, liver and renal profile, ultrasound abdomen and stool and urine routine.
So kindly consult your pediatrician so that he can confirm the diagnosis and start appropriate treatment.
Please dont worry, the situation doesn't seem worrisome and is likely to resolve after treatment.

Hope I have answered your query,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: 5 year old with chemical smell in breath, skin turning yellowish and stomach pain. Suggestions? 1 hour later
Its the middle of the night over here in Switzerland and she has woken because of pain in her lower arms and in her back where abouts the kidneys would be. How quickly should I react, what can I do?
Thank you very much!
Sincerely XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 1 hour later

Thanks for the follow up.

As I already mentioned, the situation is not an emergency and you may wait till the morning and visit your pediatrician or get an early appointment for the same day.

Please do not panic, if the pain worsens, then you can give her an analgesic like Acetaminophen (Tylenol as per your doctors prescription).

Do give her plenty of water and keep her well hydrated. Hydration itself may bring some relief.

Hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up queries.

Wish her speedy recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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