Dealing with a sick child can be one of the toughest challenges for parents. Kids are often energetic when they are well, and irritable when sick.
There are plenty of messes to deal with — messes that don’t involve their toys. When it comes to toddlers and younger kids, mucus, phlegm and other kinds of discharge can end up on their faces, hands and clothes. You may even find these on the clothes you are wearing.
Physical and emotional issues may also arise. Your child may be constantly miserable, crying and clamoring for your attention. Expect to deal with problems in sleeping and eating as well when your child is coming down with the cough, colds or another ailment.
Taking care of an ill child requires an intricate balance of several skills. You will be faced with the challenge of nursing your child back to health while finding ways ways to avoid getting sick yourself. Here a few tips to help the little ones through these difficult times.
1. Drink lots of fluids
Coughs, colds, fever, vomiting and diarrhea can cause your child to lose significant amounts of water and salt. Your child may end up becoming dehydrated if you don’t find a way to replenish the salt and fluids in the body.
Drinking copious amounts of water is recommended, but is not the only solution available. Preparing fruit juices is one way to get kids to drink more fluids. Drinking a glass of juice can also make it easier for kids to take their chesty cough medicine.
Another way is to prepare meals that are heavy in fluids. Soups and porridges are recommended as they can be soothing on the throat.
2. Use a warm, wet cloth
Repeatedly wiping the nose can leave the skin around the mouth and nose raw, sore, or sensitive to the touch. It is common to find kids, teens and adults alike who have red noses days after recovering from a cold.
This can be especially taxing and painful for the younger ones. One way of reducing the risk of irritation and leaving the skin raw is to use a warm, wet towel when wiping away any nasal discharges. Compared to pieces of dry tissue, a wet cloth feels more soothing on the skin.
The moisture on the towel also prevents the development of rashes and doesn’t leave the skin irritated. An alternative is to apply a bit of petroleum jelly or lotion around the nose to keep the area moisturized.
3. Sleeping tips
Children need plenty of sleep — at least 10 hours a night if they are of school age. Kids who are feeling under the weather need even more sleep to allow their tiny bodies to recharge.
One way to keep your child in bed is to stay with them. You can listen to some music, play games together, or read a storybook that your kid enjoys.
4. Use natural decongestants
Pharmaceutical decongestants are not safe for kids, especially for those under the age of four years. Instead of grabbing a decongestant, you can clear up any obstruction by giving them a spa-like experience inside your own home. All you need is lots of hot water inside the bathroom.
Get the hot water running to produce some steam. Once steam has filled up the space, let your child soak up the vapors for around 15 minutes. The steam emanating from the warm water can help dislodge any mucus and decongestion inside the nose.
With babies, you can use a small nasal bulb to clear up the nasal cavity. If you can invest in a humidifier, that would be even better. A humidifier is designed to increase the humidity level inside the space and break up the mucus inside the airways.
5. Spend quality time
Finally, provide ways to distract your child from the symptoms of their cough. Leaving your child in front of the TV or with a tablet in hand are some of the more convenient methods. An alternative is to play with your young one.
There are plenty of ways to keep your child distracted. You can grab some of her toys and play doctor, drink tea together, or go out for a short walk. As long as your child does not have a fever and is up for it, a brief walk in the sunshine is a great way for kids to get some fresh air.