I am writing in concern for my nephew. Basicaly, he has been "ill" for 3 weeks on and off.
3 weeks ago, he broke out in some minor hives. He was taken to the urgent care, and was told he had a mild temp. and that he must have a viral infection his body is reacting to. Told to give him steroid and tylenol to break the fever.
Well, on and off for the next week and a half, he gets a fever, but then it goes away. He has a runny nose that won't stop running....and a cough (chesty, you can definitely hear "junk" in there). His appetite decreases, but he's still eating some, but not like he was.
Week #3, he's clingy, lethargic a few times, and still has the runny nose. Chesty cough as well, but he doesn't cough often, but when he does...it's junky. He's starting to look SKINNIER to me. I'm guessing that in the past month, he's lost about 3-5 pounds, and it's noticeable. Remember, his appetite has definitely decreased these 3 weeks of illness. He'll eat a big/normal breakfast, but as the day goes on, it's hard to get him to eat much. He just shakes his head "no" at just about everything.
Notice his molars are coming in at this time, as well...not sure if that is causing any symptoms or not.
The past 3 days, he broke out in a small amount of hives again, gave him the steroids immediately, they disappear. Fever is back (low grade), still consistent runny nose (has yet to go away at all in this period), and still small appetite/looking skinny. Now, he also has diarrhea, BUT....loves raisins and had been eating TONS of them the past few days.
Not acting himself. Grumpy/clingy/not as much energy, but not super lethargic either...will play and laugh and ride his horsey, etc, but just not "himself."
Are diarrhea, small appetite, runny nose, junky occassional cough, weight loss, intermittent low grade fevers a concern/red flag?
For something as serious as leukemia? what else could this be? can a viral infectio last 3 weeks.
One more thing...it should be noted that he LIVES in a house where daycare is ran (5 kids between 1-5 years old), and every kid lately is quite ill....all for about 3 weeks or so at a time.....cough, runny nose, fever, etc. They don't seem to have the appetite/weight loss thing, though.
Why the jump to leukemia? Does anyone else in the family have leukemia or any other form of cancer?
Except for the hives, everything you have described could just be symptoms of your nephew cutting molars....
Cutting molars can be harsh on a little one. The excess drool gets swallowed and causes tummy troubles (like diarrhea). Combine that with the pain of cutting new teeth and you get a huge lack of appetite, which obviously causes weight loss. Though most doctors deny it, a lot of little ones will get a runny nose and fever when they cut teeth. Drainage from runny noses can cause "junky" sounding coughs (3 of my 4 kids had similar symptoms when they cut their molars.... one ran a fever of 105 when her molars came in! My 4th doesn't have molars yet, but she's cutting her front teeth right now and has a nasty runny nose and junky cough).
Cutting molars can also cause a little one to not sleep well. This combined with the pain of cutting new teeth could account for the grumpiness, the tiredness, the not quite acting like himself....
It is important to understand that there are two different definitions of the word, "lethargic." There is a medical definition, and there is a parental definition. In the medical sense of the word, it means that a child is pretty much comatose. It means a child is limp and lifeless, and not at all responsive to stimuli. If a child is lethargic in the medical sense, the child should be taken to the ER immediately, because something is extremely wrong! The parental definition of the word lethargic is more along the lines of a child being extremely tired, just wants to lay around, fussy, clingy, etc. This behavior is fairly typical of any child who isn't feeling well.
I have to point out that difference, because when my first was just 9 months old, I rushed her to the ER, thinking she was "lethargic" and needed medical attention, when it turned out that she just had a virus and was tired and wanted me to hold her.
As far as the hives.... in my experience, hives can have an infinite number of causes. Food allergies, allergy to medication, viral infection, allergy to lotion, baby wash, laundry detergent, etc.... if he was playing outside, he might have come across some fertilizer or bug spray or weed killer (even if it's not used in his own yard, if neighbors use it, or the city uses it, it doesn't take much exposure to set off hives in some children).
And it could be that the combination of having a virus and cutting molars are the cause of his symptoms.
As far as his symptoms lasting a few weeks, that's not uncommon for illnesses this time of year. It seems this year, especially, illnesses seem to be hitting harder and lasting longer. It's also possible, since he's in a daycare, that he had one virus, and then caught another one right after he should've gotten over the first.
Last thing.... make sure he has his ears checked for ear infection. Yucky runny noses that have enough drainage to cause a junky cough, can also have enough drainage to cause an ear infection. Symptoms of ear infection can be very similar to teething (especially when molars are involved).
Oh shoot.... one more last thing.... until the diarrhea goes away, he needs to not have raisins! Also, no milk or any other dairy for 48 hours after his last bout of diarrhea.
Hope this helps!