Sick days are tough, especially when you’re the mom. Sometimes taking care of the kids means that you will get sick with no one to take care of you, and that is so hard. Despite good hygiene and disinfecting everything, it never seems to prevent other people in my house from getting sick. As the kids get older, however, many illnesses get much less mild and the kids can take care of themselves much better. I’ve outlined the sicknesses we’ve actually had in our house. If you read a book like What to Expect…, it’s a little freaky to see how many things can go wrong! I’m hoping this article puts someone’s mind at ease. 🙂
Little kids are famous for runny noses for a reason! 🙂 Since colds are so common, we always keep the cough drops and tissues stocked. I also like Boogie Wipes for cleaning up especially crusty noses.
One of my children got croup twice, both times around Thanksgiving so she could freak everyone out with her barking cough. She did not need medication even though her cough sounded really bad. We took her outside to let her breathe in the cold air, and it helped a lot. I did not take her to see the doctor because she didn’t have any trouble breathing or sleeping.
Two of my kids had eczema from age 6 months to about 3 years. I used colloidal oatmeal lotion with great success and barely ever needed the prescription hydrocortisone cream. (If I had been better at remembering the oatmeal stuff, I never would have needed the prescription in the first place.)
I don’t do medicine for the dreaded stomach bug either, just a bland diet. Even if it comes back up, it’s easier to clean than milk products.
My rule for keeping a child home is no vomiting for 24 hours. When that child is home, I make it as boring as possible so he/she isn’t tempted to fake sick just to stay home. So far, so good!
I think of all the illnesses ever, this is my least favorite to deal with because of the mess. Before age 7, my kids reliably throw up anywhere carpeted and nowhere near the bathroom. Anything that can’t be thrown in the washing machine or picked off the carpet gets a heavy layer of baking soda that I vacuum up when it’s dry. It does wonders for the smell and is super cheap!
Sicknesses That Need a Doctor’s Visit
All of my kids (except #5) have had 1-4 ear infections, usually between ages 9 months and 3 years. After that point, they don’t get them anymore. Almost every ear infection followed a cold and resulted in a high fever, so I took the kids in to get antibiotics. To make sure I’d remember, I wrote out all the doses on my calendar. 10 days is a lot to remember when you already have a grumpy kid.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
HFMD is the weirdest illness we’ve ever dealt with, and possibly the most serious, so I’m glad we’ve only had it once! It hit us in the middle of summer. Symptoms were different for each person but were definitely miserable. James: fever, sores; #1: headache, sores; #2 and #3: sores only around mouth; #4: fever that lasted for a week. James and #4 had it the worst, so we treated with ibuprofen, calamine lotion, and lots of rest.
Two of my kids dealt with this annoying, but common skin infection. The worst part was trying to remember to apply ointment 3X a day! Next time, I’m going to set reminders on my phone to help me out. Better yet, there won’t be a next time!
Urinary Tract Infection
My #1 had one at 2 months old. He ran a fever and since it was Sunday, we had to take him to the ER. The urgent care wouldn’t treat such a young baby. He was given an antibiotic that cleared it up quickly. Before diagnosis, it was terrifying to sit there in the ER, waiting to find out what was wrong with my little baby. It didn’t help that we were on vacation.
My #3 is the only one who ever had one. It looked like diaper rash at first but didn’t clear up; it got worse and made little blister-type sores that would pop and bleed. Prescription Nystatin cleared it up quickly. She had a few of them while she was in diapers.
Taking Care of Mom
Taking care of the kids is hard, but taking care of yourself gets even harder on sick days. I worry a whole lot about worst-case scenarios, but I’ve realized a few important things over the past 10 years.
- It’s not my fault that my child is sick.
- My house is clean(ish), not sterile, and that’s okay.
- Good hygiene does matter, but it doesn’t make me invincible.
- We will get through this!
- Be prepared for sick days to turn into weeks. That’s life with a bunch of people in a little house.
- It’s okay to take breaks from the sick kid(s). They are tough already on good days.
- Screen time limits don’t apply until everybody feels better.
- It is okay to rest until I feel better, whether it’s physically, emotionally, or both.
Sick days (or weeks) really help me appreciate the well days. With one teacher and 3 kids in school, I might be in a heap of trouble this winter.