“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Walgreens via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Walgreens.”
It's spring, and I wish I could say we were past cold and flu season. I also wish I could tell you that I was getting so much sunshine from playing in the garden that I have decreased my Vitamin D supplements. However we have been particularly hard hit with viruses this spring, so I have been stuck inside taking care of my kids. My kids have each brought home a different, but equally ugly, virus from their schools.
Despite having sick kids, I have escaped the last couple of viruses. This may be because Vitamin C is still my BFF, but I thought I would share a few other things I am doing to try to stay healthy while taking care of sick kids.
12 Tips for Staying Healthy When Caring for Sick Kids
1. Wash your hands frequently. I know we hear this advice a lot but there is a very good reason that we do. I like to keep lotion by the sink to help prevent my hands from drying out from all the washing. In addition to washing your hands, try not to touch your face.
2. Try to keep your child in one room as much as possible. I like to set up a command center in the family room because it is convenient for me, but sometimes a child feels more comfortable in their room. Limiting movement throughout the house minimizes the amount of germs spread throughout the house. I normally discourage eating in bed or on the couch, but I make an exception when my kids are sick. I would rather have them eat in their “sick room” than have them at the kitchen table where they can more easily spread germs to the rest of the family.
3. Line a bucket or a small trash can with a grocery bag and place it near where your child is resting. This will allow them to throw away tissues or have a receptacle available if they need to vomit. Then you can knot the bag and throw it away without coming into direct contact with the contents.
4. Switch to disposable tissues and other paper products when your child is sick. We use cloth handkerchiefs for allergies, but tissues for all viruses. I also use disposable disinfectant wipes when my kids are sick, so I don't have to worry about being exposed to germs unnecessarily when doing laundry.
5. Discourage accidental sharing. I like to label cups and water bottles to make sure we don't accidentally drink from each other's cups.
6. Clean all the surfaces that your child touches: the T.V. remote, door knobs, bathroom counters. To make it easier to clean surfaces while my child is sick, I keep disinfectant wipes handy. I can run the wipes over all the surfaces as soon as the child leaves that room. Once the child is well, I go through and thoroughly disinfect the house and their belongings.
7. Isolate the sick child's toothbrush. As soon as someone in our house is sick, we remove their toothbrush from the bathroom and drawer, so it doesn't come in contact with the other toothbrushes. Use a travel size toothpaste for the sick child or dispense a small amount of toothpaste onto a clean plate and then add some to the sick child's toothbrush. That way you don't transfer germs via a shared toothpaste tube. Replace the child's toothbrush as soon as they are well.
8. Limit cuddles. This is the hardest one to enforce, and this not practical if you have very young children. However, once your child is school aged, you should be able to cut back on cuddling your kids when they are sick. One thing I have found is that my kids find comfort in being wrapped or covered with my blanket when sick, so I loan my blanket and occasionally my pillow to the sick child. Instead of bringing a sick child into my bed, I set them up on the love seat and I sleep on the couch. I am close by if they need me, but they are not coughing a few inches from my face.
9. Wash your child's clothing, towels, and linens in hot water to help kill germs. My kids live in pajamas when they are sick. Since their pajamas are not made of 100% cotton, they are safe to wash in hot water. Check the labels on your child's clothes and if safe, wash them in hot water. You can add bleach to white loads.
10. Get as much rest as you can. Just like when your child was a baby, sleep when they sleep. Napping when they nap will help make up for any sleep you lose taking care of them at night.
11. Take care of yourself while you are taking care of your child. Take your vitamins, eat healthy meals, and be sure to drink plenty of liquids. This is probably the hardest tip to put into practice, other than limiting cuddles, but it is very important. You cannot take care of your family properly if you don't take care of yourself.
12. Don't be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, or neighbors. If you need an item, ask a friend to pick it up for you. They can leave it on the porch rather than come inside so that they are not exposed to the virus. Fortunately my husband is in town, so he was able to run to Walgreens for me yesterday to pick up more tissues and Vitamin C.
When shopping for vitamins, you might find it useful to know that you can help a child in need with every vitamins or supplements purchase at Walgreens. Millions of children around the world are suffering from ‘hidden hunger’, a lack of micronutrients that can lead to disease and even death. In fact, 45% of all childhood deaths are attributable to under-nutrition. Walgreens is giving a portion of all vitamin retail sales to Vitamin Angels to help 100 million children in the U.S. and abroad get the vitamins they need to live well.