When Kids Fall Ill – Your Survival Guide
There is nothing more worrying for a parent than a poorly child. Even a snuffle can fill you with dread. As so many of us have work commitments, it can be really difficult to have to make the decision to go to work or lose a day of pay. But when your child is really suffering from their symptoms of illness, all you can think about is comforting them and finding the best way to make them well again.
During childhood, you can expect your kids to suffer colds, bouts of diarrhea, sickness, and high temperatures every year. After all, they’re in constant close proximity to other kids, and they’re not as efficient with hand hygiene as adults. As many illnesses are caused by germs or viruses, our poor kids are at high risk of catching anything and everything that is going around.
Kids don’t have the strong immune system that healthy adults have. It takes time (and exposure to the bugs) for that to build up. So what can you do to give your children a boost? There are plenty of ways you can protect them and help their immune system to stay strong:
Diet – Everything your child needs for a healthy immune system can be found in a healthy diet. Include as many different types of vegetables and fruits as you can at meal times. If your kids are fussy, hide some of them in the sauce. That way you can focus on just one at a time to help them get used to eating, without restricting their diet in the meantime.
Water – Some kids are happy to drink cups and cups of water, but others never seem to be thirsty. It’s important your children are drinking several cups of water a day so they can flush their body through and stay hydrated.
Exercise – Some doctors recommend at least an hour of high-octane exercise a day! That can seem like quite a lot, but chances are your younger kids are running around the playground at school. Walking to school can add a few minutes in each direction. After school clubs like team sports can handle the rest.
Sleep – Your children need about eleven hours of sleep at night. Even teenagers need more than adults, although their body clocks tend to prefer sleeping from the wee hours to mid morning!
What To Do When They’re Unwell
If your child has diarrhea or sickness, it is essential you keep them out of school. Illness can so easily be spread in these environments. Have your kids drink extra fluids to stay hydrated. Some illnesses like Shigella can cause nasty symptoms and last longer than other tummy bugs. You can read about the illness here if you are worried your child has caught this bacterial bug. It has the potential to be really nasty and can harm kidneys and other internal organs.
Temperatures in kids can be really worrying. Usually, a pediatric paracetamol suspension can help to bring it down. But if your young child is feverish, it is often best to contact a doctor for professional medical advice. Don’t leave your kids home alone if they have a temperature like that. If there is vomiting or seizures, call the emergency services.
Of course, sometimes feeling unwell has been brought on by a teen’s own carelessness. If you’re worried they’ve been drinking or taking drugs, it’s important to talk openly and honestly with them. Chances are they need more help than you can offer alone.
Coping With Your Worry
It’s impossible not to worry about your kids when they’re unwell. But all that extra worry could leave you susceptible to illness as well. Pace yourself. Poorly kids have a lot of demands. They want extra attention and cuddles, and no parent can say no to that! They also need special meals prepared, medicines administered, and regular drinks brought to them.
On top of a grumpy, teary child, you probably have colleagues calling you for work-related issues too. Keeping on top of your job isn’t easy when you’re absent from the workplace and worrying about your children. If you have a partner, or your child’s other parent is available, try to share the caring role each day.
You might look after your child in the morning, but head into the office to keep up with work in the afternoon. Your partner will work the morning but come to the house to take care of your child in the afternoon. This shares the load, and it means you can both manage your jobs. After all, childhood illnesses are never scheduled and can’t be predicted. They often turn up at the most inconvenient times!
It’s important you try to keep to your regular routines, especially when it comes to bedtimes. If you’re overtired, you won’t be able to concentrate, and you’ll have no energy. Ultimately, you’ll be no good to anyone. There is a chance your child will need you in the night. Try to keep the lights low and make your way back to bed when you’re done. Interruptions are bad for sleep, but if you can get back to sleep, you’ll feel a little less exhausted in the morning.
If you find yourself fretting about your child, start to make records. This can help you to see if there are any serious changes in your child’s condition. You can note their temperature and jot it down on a piece of paper so you can easily keep track. Write down the time you give them medicines and the times they take a cup of drink. It helps you keep up when someone else is taking care of your child, or you’re just too tired to remember.
Fresh air is good for you whether you are ill or not. Try to open the windows each day if your child isn’t well enough to go outside. A short walk can help with overcoming illnesses too. For you, it will give you a well-earned break from your child’s bedside and give you a chance to clear your head and stretch your legs.
No matter how old your kids are, it’s no fun being poorly. And it’s even less fun for poor mom who has to clean up and take care of her unwell child. Always speak to a doctor if you are ever concerned that your child is seriously ill. Moms have pretty reliable instincts!