There are a ton of posts out there about how to stay healthy, how to clean your home and prevent illness, but what happens when you child wakes up sick or comes home from school with symptoms? They feel wretched, and you’re panicking about how to cordon off the illness from the rest of your family while making your sick child feel better as soon as possible. When your child is sick, your work doubles and your nerves get shorter. To help save your sanity, here are some tips on how to handle your sick brood:
Raid your Medicine Cabinet
At the beginning of the school year, I stock our medicine cabinet with the essential medicines and tools to help relieve symptoms. If there is a fever present, I make sure it’s the first thing I knock out with the proper dose of medication. Likewise, I keep some Vicks or chest rub on hand and administer that under socks for coughs, stuffy noses and the rest. Treat your child’s symptoms with OTC medicines that are age-appropriate and recommended by your nurses and pediatricians.
Wash All Towels and Bedsheets Often
This is a huge one. Wash all the towels, hand-towels, washcloths and floor mats. Even if you washed them yesterday, do it again. Wet towels and clumped washcloths can harbor germs faster than anything else, and keeping everything fresh is important! Bedsheets, being the number one place a sick kid lies, need to be changed at least every other day when the flu or stomach bug is present. If your child is sick with a cold, or strep throat, the sheets might “last” a little longer, but certainly as the illness wains, wash them to prevent reinfection or passing it along.
Air Out Your Home
This one can seem kind of backwards in the winter, but opening a window in a sick person’s room, or airing out the main living space can be really beneficial. There have been many studies that show indoor air can be dirtier than outdoor air and you certainly don’t want an illness stagnating in your house! Breathe deep for about an hour or so each day and feel well sooner.
Change Out Toiletries
This one is huge. Especially if you have an illness that is spread by water droplets, or other bodily fluids, changing out toothbrushes and other personal products after an illness is important. Besides toothbrushes, we will also sanitize medicine droppers, thermometers, and exchange saline nasal sprays. Keep it clean, folks!
Call Your Pediatrician’s Nurse Line
Grown ups don’t get a nurses line… the best we can hope for is the quick clinic around the corner, and even then, there’s usually a line. One of my favorite parental discoveries is that our pediatrician has a nurses line that is available 6 days a week! That means I can call up, describe my child’s symptoms and either get advice and directions to handle it at home, or be immediately connected to appointments to see the doctor. It’s one of my favorite features of our healthcare! If your pediatrician doesn’t have a nurses line, there are also medical advice available by app and video if you need it.
Be sure to check out my cough and cold guide for babies and toddlers here… it’s chock full of great information!
What are your other tips for taking action when your child is sick?