With the Coronavirus and all the other bugs going around this Spring, there are so many reasons to be nervous. Am I safe if we visit extended family or go to the grocery store? Do you assume that everyone coughing has the Coronavirus? It is such a scary time! It is comforting to me to know there are things you can do to help your family be safe!
It’s tough when your kids are sick! Does it ever come at a convenient time? How do you know when to take them to the doctor, when to stay home from school or other activities? Here are some of the guidelines I used. I was really grateful to have a friend nearby who was a medical assistant and I would call her to get lots of advice. She helped me evaluate whether they needed to go to the doctor or school or stay home. Now you can Google symptoms and try to make decisions a little bit easier. Here are some of the guidelines I followed for the basics.
- Fever of 100 degrees or higher. Stay home for 24 hours afterwards. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are great for reducing fevers.
- Throw up/Diarrhea-stay home while they have the symptoms and until they can pass food regularly or keep it down.
- Other diseases: Strep (24 hours after antibiotics), flu, chicken pox, hand foot mouth, stay home while its contagious.
- Severe cough or difficulty breathing. Those barking coughs are pretty bad and the ones that just don’t stop.
- Runny nose– I would send them if it was clear and not constantly running. If it was thick mucus or greenish color then I would keep them away.
- Mild symptoms of colds, coughs, and sore throats were usually okay to send them.
What do you do if your child is sick and misses school? The one thing my son remembers most about staying home when he was sick is that I always made him take naps. I didn’t want it to be too much “fun” when they stayed home. My rules at home were usually one movie or show and then I would make them take a nap. Although if I could tell they were really sick, I would let them do whatever they felt like…which usually ended up with them sleeping. It must’ve worked because I never had a child stay home if they really weren’t sick. Also, I would have one of my other children pick up their homework after school so they didn’t miss too much while they were away.
My mom taught me to take extra good care of your kids/spouse when they are sick. Here are a few things I would do to help treat their basic symptoms.
- Throwing up-I would get a blanket or sheet to put over the couch and pillows. This made clean up easier and I could just wash them afterwards eliminating other kids using the same germy blankets and pillows. Then I would make sure they had a big kitchen bowl nearby in case they couldn’t make it to the bathroom. Dehydration always worried me so I would start them out with ice water and a straw. It seemed like I had to remind them a lot to drink lots of little, slow sips. Once they could keep that down we would try Otter pops. If you cut them in 1/2 with kitchen scissors they make a nice size to hold and put in a small cup so they can slowly nibble on them. If they were up for a Sprite or cream soda I would get them a cup for that as well. Next I would try crackers or toast or something small that sounded good to them. Once they could keep a meal down, they seemed to recover quickly.
- Diarrhea-This is also a bad one to leave home because you may not be close to a bathroom. I had to tell them, “Any farts need to be done in the toilet.” Get them to take an Immodium if they can swallow or kids version. The BRAT diet works great…Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. Make sure they drink a lot of fluids! Water, soda, whatever you can get them to drink.
- Coughs-most coughs used to be okay. Now with the Coronavirus if it is accompanied with a fever and difficulty breathing then keep them home and get them checked. In general, if it is a barking or rattling cough or accompanied by other symptoms I would keep them home. You have to be careful because it can turn into pneumonia or other dangerous illnesses.
- Injuries-If they get a sprain or pull a muscle, we usually follow the RICE method: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Once the pain and swelling have gone down then they can go to school. I’d send a note to school so their teachers are aware of the situation.
Preventing sickness in your home.
My family has stayed fairly healthy throughout the years. There are definitely things you can do to keep your family healthier.
- Stay away from sick people. The new term is “social distancing”. Just stay away from anybody who might be sick. Or in the case of Coronavirus…stay away from everybody else-they all might have it! (I am actually enjoying our weekend home with nothing to do!)
- Don’t share cups, drinks, utensils. My dad was a microbiologist so we never shared drinks in our household. Many bugs are spread through saliva and is one of the quickest ways to get their germs.
- Go to bed early. Get enough sleep! I cannot tell you how much this helps you stay healthy. Your body is working so hard while you are sleeping to help heal yourself while you sleep. If you are sick, additional sleep will help in your recovery process.
- Wash your hands often. Do it as soon as you get home, before you eat, and when you are out as well. You can have your kids say their ABCs while they wash.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, mouth, or chew on things (like pencils that were in your hands).
- Use tissues to cough into, sneeze into, and to blow your nose. Teach your kids to use them as well. We have tissue boxes in every room of our home. Plus we keep small packages in the car, coat pockets, purses, church bags, etc. We have a lot of allergies so it is important to take care of those fluids properly!
- Eat healthy foods. Those fruits and veggies will help your immune system fight off diseases.
- Take your vitamins daily. There are kid ones for the littles. Then small ones when they can swallow. When we get sick we like to have a chewable Vitamin C for when we are coming down with something. It seems to help us recover faster.
- Keep your house clean. After someone got sick we wash sheets, blankets, wipe down door handles and light switches, etc.
It seems like kids get sick at the most inconvenient times. Don’t send them to school, or church, or sports, or to play dates when they are sick. It is okay for them to miss activities due to sickness. If your child gets sick, please keep them home until they are feeling better.
Stocking up: Nothing is worse then having to go to the store with a sick kid. I still remember my daughter throwing up in the shopping cart and dripping all over the store. YUCK!!! Plan ahead so this doesn’t happen to you. I always keep a second bottle of everything we use regularly. Here are things you should have on hand in case your kids get sick (or in stores right now where they are all sold out most items). If you don’t have all these items now, don’t panic. Just start by slowly adding one a week or month depending on your budget. Make sure to keep them locked up, high or in a safe place where the kids can’t get them. Here are things I always keep on hand.
- Cough drops. I like the cherry ones. My kids like the berry ones (they taste more like candy).
- Mucinex (This helps with all the plem and yuckiness that comes with many cough viruses). They also have a child version.
- Immodium or the kids version.
- Chewable Vitamin C
- Ibuprofen in pill form or liquid or chewable. I also have individual packets so they can take them to school (they have to be sealed to bring them to our school).
- Acetaminophen pills or liquid. and individually wrapped pills. For my post on helping your kids swallow pills go here.
- Naproxin (this is great for cramps) pills, and individually wrapped for travel.
- Allergy pills
- Benadryl (this is good if they have an allergic reaction to something or a bite).
- Hydrocortizone (great for eczema or bites that itch).
- Triple antibiotic ointment and a large Band-aid selection.
- a first aid kit. We made a big one out of a tackle box and have a large selection of items in it.
- a thermometer
- Keep extras of prescription medication.
- Hand soap and refills.
Taking care of a sick kid can be tough but it can also be a bonding time for both of you. Most people really appreciate the extra love and kindness of someone caring for them while they are sick. We want to keep our families healthy and happy for years to come!
Other helpful sites:
****I’m not a medical professional. These are just my opinions and what worked for us. The Amazon links are for your info but I do get a small commission if you buy any of them.****