While I love everything about fall – the leaves changing color, tall boots, turtle neck sweaters, dark red lipstick, Halloween, pumpkin everything – I do not enjoy the fact that it marks the beginning of cold and flu season, and since this is my daughter’s first year in public school, I know we’re in for a crazy ride for the next several months.
Now, I’d love to sit here and tell you I have heaps of experience in the sickness department, and that I breeze through coughs, colds, fevers, and tummy bugs like a pro, but the reality is that I’m a pretty big wimp when my little one gets sick, and no matter how many years go by, I always get incredibly anxious whenever she’s feeling under the weather.
The good news?
I have lots of friends who have been battling motherhood a lot longer than I have, and they are always quick to offer me their best tips, tricks, and advice whenever sickness strikes.
And since I know I’m not the only parent out there who is dreading cold and flu season, I’m teaming up with Children’s TYLENOL® and Children’s MOTRIN® to share my best mom hacks for sick kids to help you keep your little ones comfortable during cold and flu season.
As someone who has suffered through multiple sore throat experiences over the span of her life, I have tried everything under the sun to help relieve a raw, red throat that feels like it is filled with razor blades every time I swallow, so when my entire family came down with sore throats last December, I was prepared with 3 of my best sort throat remedies:
- Popsicles offer a great way to stay hydrated when it’s too painful to swallow, and help numb the area so eating is less painful.
- Gargling with warm salt water helps relieve swelling and discomfort, and can help loosen mucus.
- Children’s TYLENOL® provides fast relief when simple tasks like eating, drinking, and sleeping seem impossible, and natural remedies aren’t doing the trick.
*If sore throat pain continues longer than two days you should consult your doctor.
Whenever my daughter gets a cold, she immediately develops a dry cough that keeps our entire household up half the night, and since she’s too young for over-the-counter cough suppressants, I’ve spent my fair share of time researching natural remedies to help her (and me!) get a good night of sleep.
I’ve tried lots of different ideas over the years, but the one that works the best for her is when I rub a bit of menthol on her feet and cover them in socks. I’m not brave enough to try essential oils as I don’t trust myself to mix them properly, so I opt for whatever vapor rub is on sale at our local pharmacy. It doesn’t eliminate the cough, but it certainly takes the edge off.
When my mum and I get colds, we get stuffed up like nobody’s business, and after watching my daughter suffer from horrible seasonal allergies this past summer, I can see she’s headed down the same path as us.
Unfortunately, she’s too young to take certain types of over-the-counter cold medications, and while I can’t do much to ease her discomfort other than put a humidifier in her room and apply a vapor rub to her chest and back like my Grandma used to do for me, I have learned that sitting and lying down do nothing but make congestion worse.
Of course, it’s impossible to sleep standing up (I think?), so to keep things more bearable during the day, I serve all of my daughter’s meals to her while she’s standing up, and I encourage her to stand at our coffee table while she’s playing or doing arts and crafts to help keep her airways open so she doesn’t feel so miserable.
And when she does need to lie down? I make a game out of seeing how many pillows I can use to prop her up to ease her congestion, which always makes us giggle.
Ugh. Stomach bugs are no fun, but friends of mine have given me some great tips to help make it a little less terrible:
- Only offer small amounts of liquid post-vomit. Start with a tablespoon of water or flat ginger ale, wait to see if your little one can keep it down, and if she can, you can offer more. Giving too much liquid too soon can make vomiting worse and lead to dehydration.
- Use towels instead of blankets. They’re more absorbent and easier to clean!
- Double (or triple!) sheet the bed to make middle-of-the-night bed changes easier. Don’t forget to add a waterproof sheet to each layer!
FEVER AND PAIN
While I don’t like to give my daughter medication unless I really have to, I always ensure I have Children’s TYLENOL® and Children’s MOTRIN® in my medicine cabinet so I can offer her the appropriate relief when needed.
For a long time, I would only give her Children’s TYLENOL® as I’d heard it’s easier on kids’ tummies, but after a bad streak with injuries when my daughter was a toddler, I quickly came to the realization that while Children’s TYLENOL® is a great first line of defense against fever and pain, I find Children’s MOTRIN® works great on sprains and bruises and lasts up to 8 hours.
So when my little one is really suffering, I tend to reach for Children’s MOTRIN® as it contains Ibuprofen to help fight persistent pain and fever.
A few notes on dosing…
-Make sure to shake the product well before use
-Use the dosing device provided with the medicine, and do not give more or less than directed
-For Children’s TYLENOL®, a single dose may be repeated every 4-6 hours as needed, with no more than 5 doses per day, unless directed by a doctor
-For Children’s MOTRIN®, a single dose may be repeated every 6-8 hours as needed, with no more than 4 doses per day, unless directed by a doctor
You can find Children’s TYLENOL® and Children’s MOTRIN® at national retailers and most local pharmacies including (but not limited to): Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Jean Coutu, Costco, Walmart, and London Drugs, and you can save $5.00 when you buy any 1 Children’s TYLENOL® and 1 Children’s MOTRIN® product using THIS LINK (note: if you reside in Quebec, please use THIS LINK).
You can also follow Children’s TYLENOL on Facebook for tips and tricks to keep your little ones comfortable this cold and flu season!
TRUST YOUR GUT
If I’ve learned anything in my career as a mom, it’s to trust your own instincts. If you feel uneasy about anything when your little one is sick, please take her to the doctor or to the closest emergency room. If you’re lucky, you’ll be told she’s 100% okay, and while you may feel like a fool for ‘wasting’ everyone’s time, you can rest assure you took the necessary precautions to ensure she was safe.
Cold and flu season can be a real drag, particularly when you have small children who seemingly bring a million different illnesses home during the winter months, but with a little planning and preparation, and a lot of love and hugs, these mom hacks for sick kids can help take the edge off!
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