What To Do For The Cold And Flu
I don't think there are many people that dread cold and flu season as much as the parents of young children. Is there anything as sad as a sick little one? Yes, it is miserable when mom and dad are sick and have to take care of the kids, but nothing breaks a heart quicker than the sick terrified eyes of your baby staring at you. Especially since there isn't a quick fix! There are plenty of things we can do to try and prevent it, but sometimes you just draw the sick cards and have to push on forward.
At least one person in our house has been sick since Halloween, but luckily our baby hadn't caught anything more than a slightly stuffy nose up until this last week. Luckily she was born in August, so she got a few months of warm weather and very few germs around her before the cold and flu season hit. We have been careful, of course, but our Christmas vacation really did us in.
Just three days after arriving home from our warm and sunny Christmas trip, I was packing both my girls up to go to the doctor. They both had nasty coughs and runny noses, but they didn't have a fever, so I was honestly thinking I was going to be told that they had a small, common cold. Boy was I surprised when our doctor told me that the diagnosis was RSV. He also told me at that appointment that influenza has
been really bad and highly diagnosed this year as well. Of course, I was immediately terrified for my five-month-old and asked for everything I could possibly to do help her get through it without her being hospitalized.
The first thing he said was to use saline and a nasal aspirator (like the NoseFrida) to keep the nasal passages clear of snot and mucous. Keeping them as clear as possible is a tool to keep their illness and condition from getting worse. It was so sad to drip the saline in their noses because it frightened them (especially our tiniest babe), and the suction, of course, isn't comfortable, but we kept to it.
A sick baby with a fever needs rest, but the fever also needs to be monitored. You can refer to this great article on WebMD for more about fever concerns and when they are too high for your child's age. How can you give your baby adequate rest if you are wanting to take his/her temperature so frequently? By using the FeverFrida! You just stick the monitor on baby with the handy adhesive strip and you can monitor the fever from your phone! Fever is not to be taken lightly with either the cold or the flu.
We also spent a lot of time in the bathroom with the shower running hot for steam thanks to the doc's suggestions. I didn't ever want to keep clothes on them, but obviously I couldn't put them in the bath with burning hot water running down it. So we would wrap our girls in a towel and just sit in the bathroom while it steamed right on up. Top off a good steam with chest rub to continue to help keep the respiratory open!
Keeping kids hydrated is also extremely important, especially infants that rely solely upon liquids for their nutrition. I know from experience that keeping a nursing baby awake and nursing while sick can be quite impossible sometimes. A good tip is to pump and offer their actual feedings by bottle. Then you know exactly how much they are getting, and you can "force" them to drink a little better than if they are just nursing. This can also be exceptionally hard if your little one is throwing everything that goes into their mouth, right back up. Talk to your doctor about offering Pedialyte, or other options that provide the needed electrolytes to stay hydrated. Our baby did end up in the hospital because she wasn't getting enough oxygen, BUT she didn't have to be poked or prodded by needles for an IV or other medications because she was hydrated enough.
As always, listen to your mother's intuition and stay in touch with your doctor as you navigate the illness. No question is a dumb question when it comes to your baby's health and wellness! Remember when you were a kid how upsetting it was to be sick, and even how upsetting it is to be sick as an adult. Dig deep to find the extra-patient and extra-loving parts of you while you power through.Featured Image PC: @rebecca_swiss
Written by: Alyssa Liston