Poorly in Spain

We were all looking forward to a much longed for family holiday in Marbella.  My Mum had booked the villa months ago, for us to have our first holiday as a family of 9.  We decided against going last year when Freddie was 3 months old because we thought that was too young for him to be travelling.  And what would we do if he got sick out there??  So we decided to wait until this summer to have our first big family holiday.

But things never do go to plan, do they?  Our poor little Freddie had impetigo whilst we were there!

It all came on quite suddenly, really.  We had a very early morning flight to Malaga, so Freddie was sleepy on the flight over there; he actually slept throughout taxi and take-off, which surprised me.  I thought take off might bother him and his little ears, but it didn’t seem to.  I noticed that he had a spot on his nose, but didn’t think too much of it as he often catches himself with his nails and scratches himself a little bit.

He was using his dummy for the flight, because I head read a tip to give a baby something to suck during takeoff and landing to help with their ears.  Freddie doesn’t take a bottle anymore, but he does have a dummy, so we used that.  He used a dummy for most of the flight.  Again, we didn’t really think anything of it.

When we arrived in Malaga, we noticed that the spots had spread across his mouth and chin, and looked painful.  They looked like coldsores.  He seemed well in himself, but he did look poorly.  He’s always had such lovely skin that seeing him with these horrible spots across his face was upsetting.  Along with the spots on his face, he also developed severe nappy rash, which must have bothered him.

The next day, the spots were worse, and had started to appear on his arms and legs.  We decided to take him to the pharmacy and see if they had anything for him.

When you’re feeling stressed and worried about your baby, being in a foreign country is the last place you want to be.  Every conversation is started with a hopeful “do you speak English?” (which i’ve since learnt is “¿Habla inglés?”).  I didn’t really understand what she was saying, she didn’t really understand what I was saying, but she looked at him and gave us some cream for the nappy rash, and also a face cream.  35 euros later, we were on our way.

That night, we all went out for some dinner, and Freddie was asleep right up until the point where my food arrived (if you have children, you understand that this is the norm!).  I popped him in his high chair and he attempted to eat.  It wasn’t long before he started getting really distressed; he was obviously uncomfortable so I decided to take him back to the villa.  When we got there, he was sobbing uncontrollably, and was getting hotter and hotter.  At this point, I got really worried.

So I called the hospital, and the Spanish staff put me through to a German volunteer who could speak a little English.  On his recommendation, we booked a taxi and headed to the hospital.  All credit to the hospital, we were checked in really quickly at the front desk (we took his passport and EHIC card with us) and seen initially within 5 minutes.  The same thing as what happens in the UK when you go to A&E.  We were ushered into another room, and then another, seen by several nurses on the way.  And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  It’s quite late at night now by this point, and Freddie is understandably frustrated, and tired, and in pain.  We can’t let him get on the floor because he doesn’t have shoes with him (#parentingfail), and there aren’t any chairs in the room, so we sort of just perch on the side of the bed.  After a couple of hours, a doctor comes in and checks Freddie over.  She tries to explain to us that he has Impetigo, which she tells us is very similar to chicken pox (as the sores are all over his body).  She writes us a prescription to antibiotics and a cream to put on his sores, and so off we go to the 24hr pharmacy.

It was a relief that it wasn’t anything more serious, I can tell you.  Later when we got back to the villa, my Dad tells me that he had a feeling that we were going to come back and say that we had to fly home.  Thankfully, it didn’t come to that!!

So twice a day it was antibiotic cream on the spots on his body (and his nappy rash) and the liquid too (which we put in his milk… it was so sweet, Freddie just gobbled it down!) for the rest of the holiday!  He got better and better as the week went on (thankfully!) and he even got to go in the pool towards the end of the week.  It was nice to see my happy, bubbly boy back.

It was scary.  Very scary.  Any sort of rash on a child is worrying, and being in a hot country where you don’t speak the language, just makes things worse.  The doctors and nurses at the hospital were great though, and it was nice to know that – because we had the EHIC we would be treated the same as a Spanish native.

More information on Impetigo

More information on the EHIC: