Home sick: tips from the parenting front lines
Tips and tricks for home care of mild illnesses
Before sickness strikes
Keep in stock: I’ve learned the hard way that when my kids are sick, everyone else’s kids are too. That means the pharmacies’ shelves are bare right when I’m most in need. Now I always keep on hand at least one full bottle of children’s ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin) and another of acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol), plus the adult equivalents. It's wise to stock up now, before flu season hits full swing.
I also keep in stock:
Prescription medications like an inhaler, if needed.
Rehydration fluids like Pedialyte. I like the powder packets because they take up less space in the cabinet.
KN95 or other high-quality masks. Not only will these help to prevent transmission, but they can be very useful if you have a sensitive stomach, particularly if paired with chewing gum or strongly-scented lip balm like Burt’s Bees. Together, these bring relief from most unpleasant scents.
Disposable gloves, which you can find online and in hardware stores like Home Depot.
Disinfecting cleaning products like bleach or Lysol.
Digital forehead thermometer. These are a bit expensive, but I’m never going back. It’s so much better than the kind that go under the arm or tongue.
I also have a pulse oximeter and a stethoscope at home. I’m not a clinician so I don't rely on them overly, but those tools have helped me to navigate difficult decisions like whether we can wait out a long night or weekend until our doctor’s office reopens, or if urgent or emergency care is in order.
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When someone is sick
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