Sneezing with never-ending snot, coughing that wakes the entire house, fevers that feel like fire on a forehead – if you’re a mom, you’ve know all about sick kid season. Tis the season for viral illnesses galore. You try your hardest to keep your own in their healthy, germ-free bubble but none of us seem to escape the germs. Especially, if you have children in school or daycare.
There Goes the Vacation Time
I started writing this as I’m home from work using paid time off, nursing a wheezy, snotty RSV baby back to health. She’s got one of many different viruses going around, not only her classroom at daycare, but the community as well. My husband is out of town for work, it always seems to happen this way. Luckily, my toddler is healthy and can go to daycare while I focus on his ill sibling.
No one warned me that this might be the hardest part of motherhood. The level of stress that I feel when my kids are sick is indescribable, I’m constantly at a level 10 of worry and anxiety until this seasonal cold goes away and the next one starts. Stress about calling off and missing work, stress about trying to keep the rest of the family healthy, stress about doctors appointments and potential hospitalizations – the list goes on.
Pediatric Nurse by Day, Mom by Night
I’m a pediatric registered nurse. I have been for over 2 years now. I’m the person you call at your pediatrician’s office when you need advice about your sick kids. I have endless knowledge of bumps and bruises, pink eye, tummy bugs, and how to treat the symptoms of just about any viral illness. It never fails that I lose my mind when my babies are sick, my nurse brain goes right out the window. This is part of the reason I love my job so much – I can offer solidarity and support to parents who also feel like they’re losing their minds.
As a mom of two little germ magnets, here’s a list of my must haves for littles during sick kid season:
- nasal saline drops or spray
- suction – the old fashioned bulb suction is my go to but the NoseFrida is great, too!
- Boogie Wipes
- hand sanitizer for everyone
- cool mist humidifier
- Johnson’s Soothing Vapor Bath
- Maty’s All Natural Baby Chest Rub
- a trustworthy, accurate thermometer
- Tylenol and Motrin (6 months and older)
- sugar free sports drinks – great for hydration and my toddler loves the taste!
Check out Cold and Flu Season: Caring for a Sick Toddler, for some really great tips and tricks on how to treat viruses symptomatically, putting a few of these products into action.
Take Care of You
Not only do we have to thoroughly care for our sick kids, we have to remember to care for ourselves as well. Apply the chest rub (on the feet, too!), turn on the humidifier and sound machine, tuck your babes in, and watch your favorite show or take an extra long shower. Take shifts with your significant other. Sometimes, I just need to get out of the house when I’m tending to sick kids – I like to place a Target drive-up order, load everyone up, grab a coffee, and cruise around while everyone takes a car nap. No one has to get out of the car and everyone gets a little break – you can wear your comfiest sweats and slippers, too.
Whatever you have to do to keep your sanity during sick kid season, we understand – just be sure to wash your hands while you’re doing it.