Winter is here, and with it lots of germs and sickness floating around with the snowflakes. There are a variety of illnesses more prevalent in the winter months, and our little ones (as well as pregnant mamas) are most susceptible. It’s important to protect against these the best you can, but once it comes, know your options for remedies and healing, too.
Your child can easily catch a cold or the flu anywhere. Even if they spend the whole day at home, mom or dad can carry germs into the house and baby can end up sick. This is why the first defence is always hand washing! As soon as you come into your home, wash your hands right away. Have older children wash their hands as soon as they come home from school as well. This may seem strict, but doctors agree that hand washing is the best way to prevent sickness from spreading, so even (politely) ask guests to do the same.
Comfort Essentials for the Common Cold
For the common cold, the most likely culprit to visit your home this season, there is no actual cure. Your job is to keep your ailing baby as comfortable as possible while the cold runs its course, so start with a few essentials.
You can clear baby’s sinuses with a nasal aspirator. I love the Swedish brand NoseFrida – it works so efficiently, and you’ll be amazed how much was in that precious little baby’s head! Once their nose is clear, keep it that way with a nursery humidifier like this one from Motorola. Another option are crib wedges, which slightly elevate the upper body, allowing less sinus blockage. Once baby can breathe properly again, they’ll be much more comfortable, which will yield longer naps and restorative sleep.
To increase baby’s comfort during a fever or cold, there are homeopathic options such as Kids 0-9 Cough and Cold and Flu Buster Homeocoksinum, or the traditional route of Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, the latter not being safe until baby is over the age of six months. No matter the medication you use, be sure you know your child’s exact weight to determine the dosage, and check with a healthcare professional first.
Your child will likely not have a big appetite when ill, but you must insist on an increase of liquids. Hydration is key when they’re feverish, and especially if they’ve lost hydration from diarrhea or vomiting. Our kids typically only drink water, but when they’re sick and we need to coax them to drink more, we will add some fruit juice in with the water. Consult your pharmacist about whether or not your child may need an electrolyte drink if they’ve lost excessive hydration.
Diagnosis of any kind should always be done by a healthcare professional. Ideally, ask your child’s doctor in advance what their suggestions are for when to call in about a fever or flu. Some doctors have exact temperature requirements before they suggest seeking medical attention versus riding out the illness at home, so get to know your doctor’s rule of thumb. If you can’t reach your doctor, you can always contact your province’s telephone health line to speak with a registered nurse. This has saved us many times during late nights and weekends when our doctor’s office is closed and we weren’t sure about visiting the ER. When consulting with a doctor or nurse, you will need to know is your child’s temperature, so be sure you have a digital thermometer at home.
Spring is around the corner and we are almost through cold and flu season. Here’s hoping your family is spared this year, but in case you aren’t, we hope these tips help you on the road to recovery!
Emily is a Montreal-based writer and blogger, but most importantly, a mom of three littles (age five and under). She geeks out over cloth diapers, lattes, and will do just about anything to travel. You can find her on Instagram @emmorrice where she profusely overgrams pictures of her meals, kids and city.