I started writing this post a week ago when both boys were still sick FOR THE 45TH TIME THIS WINTER. Is this not the WORST cold and flu season in the history of ever?!! I've kept Ronan home from school three times now. Every fever, sniffle, and sore throat seems to rip straight through town to our house. Even RSV! No thank you! We are all feeling fine now (knock on wood) but illness has wreaked havoc on our routines and housekeeping. Come on, spring! Set us straight!
The silver lining to all this plague and pestilence is that we are learning how to manage illnesses without totally freaking out (a big improvement from the devastation and panic I felt when Ronan got sick as a baby!). We've been following conventional wisdom like propping up on pillows to help a stuffy head, and running a humidifier to soothe a cough. Here are a few other tricks that seem to help.
For stomach bugs (boo!):
- As soon as someone gets sick, start the washing machine. We've been through every towel, blanket, and sheet in the house in one night. Running out of clean linens is no bueno.
- Honor that it's scary. Ronan is terrified every time he throws up! Scott is really great at holding him and saying, "Yep, good job. Spit it out. I know it's scary, but you're doing great." It's really soothing to Ronan to know that somebody gets it.
- For lower GI drama, our pediatrician recommends probiotics like these to help set things right again.
- I know it sounds gross, but this nasal aspirator is the bomb. Don't overthink it.
- Keeping a sick kid hydrated is a challenge, but they almost never say no to popsicles... Orange juice, yogurt and honey is a favorite combo around here.
- We've spent a lot of family time chilling in the shower lately... turn the water on uber-hot, turn the shower head toward the wall, hold your sicko, and wait. The steam helps loosen up congestion and the warmth and contact is soothing. Follow with lots of nose-blowing/ suctioning.
- A teaspoon of honey mixed with a tablespoon of lemon juice can help for older kids who are still too young for cough syrup.
- When Merrin had RSV and was coughing until he threw up, I started keeping a big stainless steel bowl next to the bed. When he would start gagging I'd grab the bowl, hoping to keep the bed clean. :( But more often than not, the shiny empty bowl distracted him from his coughing long enough to keep his dinner down. Phew.
- Speaking of RSV, this routine really worked great for in-with-the-good-out-with-the-bad: nebulizer followed by the aforementioned aspirator, then medicine, THEN nursing. Trust me. :(
- I'm all about Vicks on the chest and feet, even if it's just the ritual that's actually soothing. Alternatively, I put my diffuser in Ronan's fort and diffused a respiratory blend of essential oils. It helped as much as the Vicks did.