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Child has fever and loss of appetite. Throat infection, sores on hands and face, swollen gums, white spots on tongue. Chicken pox?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
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My son is 18 month. Started with fever 6 days ago, lost appetite. Dr said his throat is red and it's a virus. Sent us home with Motrin. Got worst on new year, was worried took him to emergency room. Dr said he has throat infection, did not test for strep , sent us home with antibiotic. My son developed ugly sores on his hands and face around his mouth the next 2 days and also under his eyes. Took him back to pediatrician, she insists it's a virus and nothing can be done. He has not been eating at all, just drinking. Gums are very swollen, bloody and white tiny spots on the tounge. Pls help! Can it be chicken pox or something more serious?
Posted Fri, 13 Apr 2012 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 2 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

Chicken pox itself is a viral infection and can resolve even without treatment. But the rash in chicken pox is typically red, itchy initially papules but turns vesicular (fluid filled) and comes in crops starting on trunk and spreading to face and extremities.

If your child has been examined by his pediatrician it's unlikely to miss out the diagnosis of chicken pox rash.

From the description of his symptoms it looks more likely a viral illness called hand foot mouth disease which typically show oral mucosal ulcers and decreased food intake along with sore rash on extremities and fever.

It could be any other childhood viral exanthematous fever or an allergic rash if started after antibiotics especially penicillin group. Rarely a bacterial throat infection may cause such complication but the antibiotics will do the needful.

At present it doesn't seem to be a serious or life threatening illness. Most viral illnesses usually subside on their own with supportive treatment like analgesics, anti-pyretic for pain and swelling and local ulcer healing gels like xytee gel or candid mouth paint.

Antibiotics are prescribed to prevent superadded bacterial infection of raw areas.

Please do not panic, I understand your concern as a distressed parent, appreciate your efforts.
The most important thing to do is to maintain the child’s hydration and nutrition with plenty of fluids and soft diet so that the child’s immunity can fight off the illness and recover soon. Please apply calamine lotion on the skin rashes. It helps a lot.

If the child does have worsening or persistent symptoms for more than a week then kindly consult your doctor for further blood tests like complete blood counts, ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) and throat swabs.

Hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.


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Follow-up: Child has fever and loss of appetite. Throat infection, sores on hands and face, swollen gums, white spots on tongue. Chicken pox? 17 hours later
My pediatrician said we should stop antibiotics since its viral, is it ok? The sores are spreading to the other eye lid and it's been 7 days tomorrow since first fever. He is ribbing his eyes, there is a visible puss under 1 eye. I am just worried its not getting any better. When will these sores stop spreading? He is in contact with family members, can this virus show up in adults and my other kid later on? Should I see infectious specialist? Can this virus have any long term complications? Btw, his dr said its not Cox virus since no sores on his feet. Thank you!
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 6 hours later

Thanks for follow up.

Most Viral infections do spread to other kids occasionally adults. Isolation usually doesn't help since spread occurs many a times since the prodrome or period before rash appears. So if anyone develops fever do seek prompt consultation.

You can stop antibiotics if he has completed the course or doctor suspects the lesions to be side effects of antibiotics.

I would advise you do consult a dermatologist or infectious disease specialist and get a confirmed diagnosis and if required baseline blood investigations. Please do not panic as viral infections usually peak in few days then gradually subside over ten days to a couple of weeks.

They don't commonly cause any long term complications unless nervous system is involved or bacterial superadded infection occurs. If the eye complaints persist, an ophthalmologist consultation should be taken.

Your pediatrician might have prescribed an anti histaminic like cetrizine or hydroxyzine to decrease the itching and rubbing. If he only rubs the eyes then eyedrops like olopatadine might be helpful. Do discuss it with your doctor.

Wishing him good health and speedy recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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