Fever, chest congestion, flu, cold, ear and throat infections and asthma are common ailments that can make life very difficult for the children and the parents. These problems are no longer confined to some particular season or month but seem to attack the children at will.
It is therefore very important to have some essential medicines like fever reducers, pain killers and cough medicines in stock at home. It is equally important to know their correct dosage according to your child’s age and weight so that the medicine can be administered at once.
Taking care of the sick child
A sick child usually becomes very irritable and cranky. It can take every ounce of your effort and patience to keep him calm and make sure that he takes the proper medicines and nutrition to help him on the road to recovery.
When young children succumb to fever or cold, the initial 24 hours can be the most trying and energy draining. Blocked and stuffy nose make it impossible for a child to breathe normally or get any sleep. Breathing through the mouth causes dryness. Diarrhea and vomiting also cause the body to become dehydrated so it is very important that the lost fluids are replenished. Give small quantities of diluted orange juice and plenty of water to keep the child hydrated.
It is a good idea to place a steamer or humidifier in the child’s room. A small quantity of Vicks Vaporub can also be placed inside the humidifier so that the vapors spread in the air. This makes the air moist which relieves congestion and coughs and helps the child breathe more easily.
A sick child needs a lot of comfort and reassurances. Their illness can quickly take a toll on them making them tearful and fatigued. Some children feel comforted with their favorite toys tucked up in the bed with them but your presence and attention is always the main source of comfort for them.
Diet and nutrition
This is probably not the best of times to discuss merits of eating vegetables. While the child’s body is busy fighting illness, it will lack appetite which returns only when he is on the road to recovery. Therefore do not force the child to eat complex foods or it might cause him to vomit. Boiled chicken, broth, soup, some fruits and boiled vegetables are the best options for the little patient.
Medicines can also raise the body temperature giving the child flushed cheeks. Make your child drink plenty of water and urinate frequently so that he does not suffer from any harmful side effects.
Keeping the child entertained
If your child is sick with fever or flu, do not allow him to spend the whole day watching cartoons. Too much television can cause fatigue, headache, watery eyes, blurred vision and irritability. The best way to keep children entertained is to buy some CDs or cassettes with nursery rhymes or children’s stories. Children usually forget their sniffles when they are listening to songs and stories.
Coloring books, dot-to dot books and jigsaw puzzles are also healthy alternatives. It keeps their minds occupied and away from their illness. Allow them to sit up for short intervals with plenty of rest in between.
Some household remedies that really work
- Squeeze a few drops of ginger juice (by using lemon squeezer) on a teaspoon of honey. This thins the mucus and greatly reduces chest congestion.
- Sprinkle coarsely ground black pepper on a teaspoon of honey for throat infections and incessant cough.
- Mix one or two teaspoons of honey in warm water and make the child sip it slowly. It helps the body cleanse itself of harmful toxins.
- For painful tonsils, heat a little olive oil or desi ghee. Rub it on sore areas near the base of ears and along the throat column. Place cotton wool and wrap a strip of cloth around it to keep them in place.. This is a tried and tested home remedy which greatly relieves inflammation and painful swallowing.
It takes a combination of smart parenting, proper nutrition and correct medication to help the child recover quickly. Make sure that your children wash their hands often and brush their teeth regularly so that they do not succumb to every floating germ and bacteria.
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