Monday, October 26, 2009

What to do when your child gets sick in Egypt

#1 - Do not self diagnose.  Take your child to a pediatrician.

I have been very fortunate with Mira's health. Alhamdulillah she is healthy, although she gets sick this time every year with the same upper respiratory infection.  I have always taken her to a doctor where we live in Al Rehab City, and I have been fairly satisfied.

There are new medical centers here with many different doctors. Mira goes to a group of doctors that are affiliated with a children's hospital in Cairo, Tabarek Hospital. While I am satisfied with the doctors, I am disappointed that the doctors don't keep individual files on the children they see. While the doctors know Mira because she stands out for being from an American mother and an Egyptian father, I wish they would keep individual records.

Mira wasn't feeling well last week. I kept an eye on her and did something that most people do in Egypt - go to the pharmacy and buy an antibiotic from the pharmacist without having seen a doctor first.  I bought her zithromax because I thought it was the same type of bacterial infection she had in the past.  I gave her the three day dose the pharamcist told me to give her, even though I think it should have been five.  He said if she doesn't get better after three days take her to the doctor.  Well, she didn't get better after three days, even though her appetite proved otherwise.  She stayed home from school for two days, and even though she might have been feeling a little better overall, she didn't sound any better.  So I took her to the doctor.

Usually doctors in Egypt are only open in the evenings and at night, but I thought I would take a chance while I'm out.  My instinct was right on.  I took her to the doctor's office and he saw her immediately - very unusual for a pediatrician in Egypt this time of year.  He said that the zithromax wasn't working because it wasn't strong enough.  He said she has a throat infection and needed a stronger antibiotic so he prescribed augmentin.  I knew I shouldn't have given her the zithromax but I did anyway.

I asked him about the flu and he said while the swine flu is not a major concern right now, many different influenza viruses are beginning to surface, and will be prevalent in all schools within two weeks.

In the meantime Mira is on her new antibiotic and building her immune system by eating a lot of fruits.

Do not self diagnose and self prescribe medicine in Egypt. It is bes to see a doctor before heading to the pharmacy. And remember to finish the full course of antibiotics even if you feel better.



1 comment:

April said...

Sorry to hear Mira was under the weather,hope she is feeling better now. When Sarah was sick this past time the doctor we took her to gave her zithromax too, I was confused after it only lasted (liquid dose) three days, upon our return visit, I asked him about the dosage and he told me that it is a suspension here, even though you only take it for 3 days it stays in the body for 10 days. The medical part of me thought he was blowing me off so I emailed my Dr friends back in the US and they confirmed. I also started requesting (if there is no pamphlet in the medicine from the pharmacy) that they give me one with English/Arabic so I can read for myself. I agree with you whole heartedly about self is better to have a good doctor to rely on.