Caring for Your Sick Child

Are you wondering how to take care of a sick child? When your child is sick with a cold or any other ailment, many parents jump right into action. However, when it comes to many of the common respiratory viruses, all your child will need is a bit of extra TLC for their symptoms. If your child has the flu, a prescription can sometimes help, but they will still require home care to ease their symptoms. Continue reading to find out what you can do and what to watch out for when your child is sick.

How To Care for a Sick Child

If your child has gotten sick, you will need to determine if they have a cold or the flu. Sometimes children with the flu end up seeing a doctor. The flu and colds are extremely contagious. A mild flu case and a bad cold may look similar in the beginning. However, the flu is a serious illness that can have life-threatening complications, unlike the common cold. The flu normally starts suddenly and may include the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Weakness/tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

Keep in mind that influenza is not the same as stomach flu. Influenza is a respiratory illness. A stomach bug, on the other hand, affects the gastrointestinal tract and causes vomiting and diarrhea.

If you are taking care of a sick child at home, always check with your doctor before giving him or her any medicine over the counter. Keep your child comfortable and allow them to sleep as much as possible. Keep your house quiet and their door open. Check on them frequently, ensure their sheets are dry, etc. Keep fluids within their reach when they wake up.

Never give aspirin to children or teens for fevers. Tylenol can bring down a fever as well as Advil.  You can even try bringing his or her fever down with a suppository (which can help if the child is vomiting). If your child is experiencing severe vomiting, your doctor may prescribe Phenergan.

Fluids are extremely important for dehydration and easing upper respiratory infections. Keep Pedialyte on hand for times when your child experiences vomiting and diarrhea.

If your child is experiencing common cold symptoms, consult with your doctor about medication over the counter. Distract your child with quiet activities such as crafts, games, and books. Frozen juice or ice chips may soothe a sore throat. Herbal tea or water with lemon and honey can also be given, except to babies under one year old.

When Should I Call a Doctor?

Tending to a sick child may just be more than giving them an extra bit of TLC. Sometimes, you may need to call your doctor. If you believe your child has the flu, you should take them to see their doctor within the first couple of days to get prescribed antiviral meds such as Tamiflu.