There's nothing quite like a sick kid on the home front to turn a day topsy-turvy for parents, especially if it's a weekday and both Mom and Dad have jobs. Juggling family life and work is tough enough as it is. Keeping up with kids' health and dealing with all the little nagging things that go with it is a 24/7/365 proposition, and it's one that seems to hit overdrive during the winter months. ‘Kids and colds' has a certain ring of synchronicity to it, but it's not exactly something you want to sing about. A sick kid is the classic case of ‘misery loves company,' as a child who has taken ill needs constant TLC, and that often is accompanied by Mom and/or Dad getting sick themselves soon after. Misery all around. These types of things are definitely contagious, and it's interesting – if not scary – to note that, according to webmd.com, children between the ages of one and three typically experience six to nine illnesses a year. It helps to know what to do when your child becomes sick. Your mission is to transform the whiny child (adults are just as bad in many cases) back into the healthy, energetic kid that would really rather be healthy at school than sick in bed or on the sofa at home. Following are several types of illnesses or other health conditions along with some home remedies that will help you deal with each.
Home Remedies for a Cold
- Elderberry syrup. Per moneycrashers.com, studies have shown that elderberry has strong antimicrobial properties that not only can help ward off viruses, in effect boosting the immune system, but can also shorten the duration of the illness by hindering the reproduction of bacteria such as that associated with strep throat.
- Get a humidifier and use it. Keep it at a comfy level in your home – shoot for a level around 40-50 percent, especially in winter because dry air lowers your resistance to infection.
Home Remedies for a Fever
- Drink fluids. Lots of them. Yes, this is an old remedy, but it's a good one that keeps on standing the test of time. Fever can lead to the depletion of fluids and dehydration in your body. Have your kids so afflicted sip water, juices, or broth throughout the day. For young children less than a year old, an oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte can help, per newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org. Pedialyte is also available in ice pops, so there's no excuse for your kids not taking a hankering to them.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the label properly. If the fever persists after one dose – say for an hour or two – call your doctor and let him or her guide you from there. It might mean an office visit.
Home Remedies for the Flu
- Oregano oil. This stuff pretty much covers all the bases, but we've stuck it under flu because we put flu near or at the top of the list of illnesses that need ‘emergency' home treatment. Oregano oil is an anti-everything – anti-microbial/-oxidant/-inflammatory/-viral . . . you name it, you get it. Per moneycrashers.com, it can even work wonders for anyone suffering from food poisoning, which can feel an awful (‘awful' being the operative word here) lot like the stomach bug often associated with flu.
- Wash their hands. Preventative tip. Teach your children to do it early in life and often throughout, like before every mail, after using the toilet (for one or two), when being around someone who's sick or in a crowd for a lengthy period of time, after petting animals, or while traveling via public transportation, per newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.
Home Remedies for Other Stuff
- For a sore throat: Honey and lemon go together, just like sweet and sour. Seriously, per parents.com, mix together a tablespoon of each, warm in a microwave for 20 seconds until warm (not hot), and have your child swallow a teaspoon at a time. The lemon dries up congestion, and honey provides a coating that is soothing.
- For teething babies: Wrap ice in a dish towel and let the infant suck on it (do not apply ice directly to the skin; it can burn). The ice works to hold down the swelling and can ease the tyke's pain, per health.howstuffworks.com.
- For nosebleeds: Cayenne pepper has been used medicinally in many places throughout the world. It can help clot the blood. The idea is to sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper on a moistened cotton swab; then after holding your child's head upright while pinching his or her nostrils together for a few minutes, dab the inside of the nose with the pepper-covered cotton swab in the area of the bleeding, per parents.com. Surprisingly, it shouldn't sting.