Fluids -The important thing for any illness is to keep hydrated. Each of my guys have a different colored sippy cup which helps keep each person's germs to themselves. Keep them filled with something they will drink (but not something sugary) - juice diluted with water, Gatorade, etc. Keep plenty of Popsicles on hand (Eddy's has a fruit pop that has no added sugar - expensive but good!)
Fever - Though bothersome - fevers were designed to kill germs. A low grade fever is actually good and should not be stopped. My person rule of thumb is - no medication until 102.0. I have one child who hallucinates and another who has seizures above this and so that's my point for meds. If their fever is above 101.5 before bedtime I also give them something to help them through the night (usually Advil or Motrin since it lasts longer). If it's really a bugger of a fever and stays high for a long time (over 24 hours) then I alternate Tylenol and Motrin.
magnetic dress-up sets that are nice quiet toys.
Books on tape are fantastic! Check your local library. Stories (Patch the Pirate, Adventure's in Odessey, Your Story Hour) that are teaching while keeping them quiet are a double blessing.
DVD's are also an option if you allow this. We're not big DVD people at all. Watching a DVD is a special occasion, not a normal occurrence. But when they are sick there are some that we let them watch. Pictures Proverbs is what they're watching right now. Its the book of Proverbs with a new picture for each verse. If you're children only watch DVD's occasionally and don't need a lot of action then these are great! And they pick up on the Scripture so quickly. Another one our guys like is the Visual Bible Matthew and Acts.(The John DVD is not very good) The man who plays Jesus is fantastic. (Just a warning - in the second DVD on Matthew, both Jesus and his disciples are shown shirtless in two scenes). The words are taken directly from the NIV - nothing deleted or added. My boys also enjoy the IMAX Deep Sea DVD. Another set we let them watch are the Moody Science DVDS, we have some of the DVD's from Showforth which are very good. And there are some good children's DVD's at Answers in Genesis also. Some of them you can watch here. There are other handheld games and things that I know are out there but our guys don't have. The idea is - keep them playing quietly - no running around.
Breathing Treatments - There are all kinds of theories on this one but this is what I've found works best for us. Two or three times a day, I put the bathroom shower on fully hot and shut us in there for about 20 minutes. I take the liquid Vick's and mist it on the walls of the shower.
At night, I sit the boys up on pillows to sleep. This helps them to not feel like they are suffocating. Night is always worse because the hormone that suppresses coughing is at it's lowest point. If they absolutely can't breathe, the we bundle up (put something on their head) and go outside and sit for awhile (if you live in a colder climate). Yesterday Stephen and I were rocking on the front porch at 4:00am listening to the trains (I'm amazed at the number of trains running in Cincinnati at 4:00 in the morning!)
Mommy Care - this may be the most important part. Sick children need their mommy. This week a friend stopped by and one look at me said, "Are you drinking enough?" (My eyes were a little sunken) I was so busy filling sippy cups, cleaning up bathroom messes, and doing breathing treatments that I'd hardly had a chance to eat and drink myself. Here are some tips I've tried to follow:
- Make sure I take my vitamins (an extra vitamin C wouldn't hurt).
- Drink plenty of fluids myself
- Because I'm going to be doing night duty - sleep when my children sleep. I try to keep them quiet and naptime at a regular time. If they're not expending a lot of extra energy then they usually will take short naps and a regular nap. Sleep during their regular nap.
- Keep my schedule clear. Cancel appointments that can be rescheduled. Do the bare minimum with household chores. This allows me to care for their needs without feeling pushed and stressed.
The above was written on Wednesday. Last night everyone slept all night! Yeaaahhhhh! Now except for the residual coughs and low-grade fevers I think we're through the worst of it. It actually was a blessings this week! I needed the slower pace and the release of pressure from my "to-do" list. I just took care of my family this week! And, if you're going to be up with one croupy child - might as well be three, if you're going to be making chicken noodle and corn soup for one..might as well be all! I celebrated this morning by going and getting everyone a Salted Carmel Mocha at Starbucks for Sweetest Day! Another 48 hours and we should no longer be housebound!
Disclaimer: This is what I've learned after talking to my doctors and what I've found helps my children. It in no way takes the place of a proper diagnosis of an illness for your child. My children were seen by a doctor this time too (I wanted to make sure we weren't dealing with pneumonia) just to make sure it wasn't something more serious.