We call it Love and Liquids. It’s what you do when your child is sick, and as the Fall unfolds, we’re pretty sure it’s going to be a very long winter of illness. So let’s review the drill for how to get better.
At first, you think it might be allergies, but really … you’re just in denial. It’s a cold. Another day goes by, and you can’t ignore it. Congestion, scratchy throat, little bit of cough. What if it’s COVID-19? What if it’s a cold? What if…
We’re living through history, and at Johns Hopkins, the smartest folks say it’s going to be a long winter of what if’s, and we are here for you. Let’s memorize the Get Better Drill now so you’re prepared. We call it Love and Liquids. It’s all the stuff you have to do when your child is sick to help her get better. There’s science behind the advice we call “Supportive Measures.”
When a person gets sick, the immune system is more than ready to destroy the germ causing havoc. Doesn’t matter if it’s a bacteria (think strep throat) or a virus (think the Barfing Throw-ups or the Coronavirus.) Colds and COVID19 are actually caused by cousin Coronaviruses so regardless of your child’s germ, you need to understand supportive measures.
Fluids are key.
- Kids don’t eat normally when they’re sick, and that’s probably OK.
- The do need to drink, however, and clear liquids are best. (Think Pedialyte, Gatorade, brothy soups, water) Small amounts EVERY hour that the child’s awake is ideal. Depending on the size of the child, you should offer 1-2 ounces for little ones and 6-8 ounces for bigger kids, and you should OFFER but DON’T FORCE … every hour.
- Set a timer for every hour so you don’t lose track of time and keep a tally of how much fluid your child accepts.
- Sticker charts are often a good reward reinforcement. We love the Bubbles Calendar to tally intake.
Fever can be good.
- The immune system is creating a space where germs don’t like to live when the fever spikes.
- And here’s an important reminder: 104 F doesn’t mean your child is sicker than 101 F.
- It’s always what goes WITH the fever. (If the child with 101 F. doesn’t recognize her mom, that’s really worrisome! If the 104 F child is sipping Gatorade and watching PBS, I’m less worried.)
Vomiting again and again is always bad. Especially when it goes on for more than a day.
- The body has a reserve of about 24 hours if a child eats or drinks nothing before dehydration is a big worry.
- If vomiting and diarrhea happen at the same time there’s fever and very little fluid intake, dehydration can happen quickly.
- Kids OFTEN throw up when they are feverish and if they try to eat or drink.
- Reduce fever (with Tylenol by mouth or as a suppository) if your child is feverish and vomiting. Then try clear liquids again once the fever comes down by 1-2 degrees.