When your child is sick, it can be hard to know what to do. Whether your child has the flu or an ear infection, knowing what to expect and how to help them feel better can help you both get through it. When your child is ill, you want to ensure they have the best possible chance of getting better quickly. Here are some tips for helping your sick child:
If you’re sick with a cold, you know how difficult it can be to sleep through the night — or even get a few hours of uninterrupted shut-eye during the day. Your child may have the same problem with his cold symptoms; if so, talk to his doctor about whether an over-the-counter medication might help him sleep better during this time (but don’t give him any medicine without first checking with his doctor). Let your child stay in bed or on the couch as much as possible. If you need to go somewhere, take a break from running errands, and plan some quiet time for everyone. Also, if your child can’t stay home from school or daycare, try to minimize noise and commotion in the house by having a quieter mealtime and fewer visitors. This will also help you avoid exposing your sick child to germs from other people at school or daycare who may be sick themselves.
Always give medicine at the same time every day — even when your child feels better. This will help keep the medicine working. If your child has been prescribed medication, ask your doctor about using prescription discount cards to save money on prescriptions that are needed to help your child feel better. Don’t mix different medicines unless they’re both supposed to be given together. For example, if one medication is supposed to be taken every 4 hours and another is supposed to be taken every 6 hours, don’t give them together unless they’re both supposed to be taken at that time. They may cancel each other out and do nothing if they’re not! Use only one kind of medicine for each symptom (for example, only acetaminophen for fever). Don’t use two or more medications that treat the same symptom (for example, acetaminophen for fever and ibuprofen for pain). You might accidentally double up on medication or give too much of one medication.
Water is the best thing for a sick child and will help to flush out the toxins from their body. The common cold is often caused by a virus, which means it’s not something you can fight off with antibiotics. That said, certain things can help ease symptoms, like getting extra fluids and rest. You should offer them small amounts of liquid regularly rather than giving them lots at once. If your child has a cold or cough, use plain boiled water for drinking and cooking, as adding sugar or salt can worsen symptoms. If your child has diarrhea, give them small amounts of clear fluids such as water or diluted squash every few hours until their symptoms improve. A good rule of thumb is to make sure he’s drinking at least 8 ounces of fluid every two hours — even if they don’t seem thirsty.
A sick child is often a very unhappy child. It’s hard to watch a little one who is ill, and it can be even harder to know what to do or say to help the child feel better. The most important thing you can do is offer comfort and support. You may not be able to take away the pain or make your child better, but you can provide comfort and reassurance. Let your child know that you’re there for her, that she’s not alone, and that she’s not in trouble for being sick. If she asks questions about why she’s sick or how long it will last, answer truthfully and simply without causing undue worry.
The best thing you can do for your child when they have a cold or flu is to make them feel better. If you manage this, you’ll get over it faster and have much less time taken away from school, extracurricular activities, and other childhood busywork. This article will help you achieve that goal without too much effort.