Written in collaboration with Dani Stevens (Health, Fitness and Food Motivator)
Getting through the colder months without your little one coming down with a bug or two seems to be near on impossible. When our children are feeling run down, unwell or generally out of sorts, the days can seem very long and the nights even longer. While a flu shot from the doctor can help keep away some of the virus strains, picking up a sniffle or cough from other kids can be all too easy at this time of year.
It’s never nice to see your children feeling sick, but I think it’s even harder when they’re very young and struggle to tell you exactly what they’re feeling. These are my go-to tips for handling the littlest members of the household during sick season:
- Reach for the tissues: it’s particularly hard to manage a running nose before your child knows how to blow it; keep plenty of tissues around the house, in your bag, in the car and in your pockets so you can quickly wipe any nasal drip before it builds up
- Steam it out: Create a steam bath over the sink or bowl using steaming hot water, take a warm shower with your little one and sit in the steam for a while or use a steam device or humidifier in your child’s room overnight to help provide some relief; I like to add a few drops of eucalyptus oil.
- Dress them up: be extra diligent with keeping extremities warm; have plenty of socks, hats and gloves or mittens around so you can grab them easily, layer outfits with singlets and use slippers for cold floors at home.
- Visit the pharmacy: there are plenty of products available that can help relieve the severity of cold and flu symptom.
- Try to limit the damage: when anyone in the household comes down with a bug, be extra diligent with things like handwashing, not sharing utensils and avoiding kissing on the mouth so you can minimise the spread of infection or reinfection.
- Food and fluids: of course what we give our kids to eat and drink is important all year round, but even more so when they’re run down; keeping up the fluids is so important especially if their bug has left them without an appetite; I reach for lots of water and milk – and even add bananas or berries to the milk to make a nutrient-rich smoothie.
- Be prepared: use a thermometer to keep an eye on their temperature and have the numbers for your GP, their after hours support service or emergency services easily to hand if you suspect there is something more to your little one’s illness than a basic cold or flu.