To my dismay this year my husband brought home the flu. Sure I knew the odds were against us with this horrible flu season and pretty much everyone posting on facebook about falling prey to its grasp. Yes, I tried the wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer where ever we go, and yes I remembered to disinfect the main germ zones. Usually, all my tricks to protect your family during flu season works well for us. Sadly our family just could not avoid the flu. I was sick and left with 5 sick children from the age of 8 months to ten years and comforting kids sick with the flu while outnumbered can be a challenge.
The worst part about this horrible flu is the fever. It was heartbreaking to feel my children’s skin so hot all the way to their feet. Now it is all over and my happy healthy baby is smiling at me while I type I can’t help but feel relieved it is all over. Alternating Tylenol and Motrin helped control the fever when I got too bad but I know leaving it to run its course as much as possible is vital. I loaded them up with blankets for when they felt cold and cool ice packs for the nasty hot flashes that came with the fevers. Having been sick at the same time I knew what they were feeling so that really helped me know how to comfort them. This is always tricky when comforting a sick baby because it is hard to check their temperature while they sleep, forehead thermometers are a great way to make this easy.
The children and I were not much into eating. While tummies felt fine anything heavy even too much water would come back up with the cough. This made keeping them hydrated a challenge. I had my husband snag a bunch of those twist top Gatoraid bottles to make siping easy. This really helped bring the kids back to life and helped me survive nursing the youngest while battling the flu myself.
Controlling the cough was tricky with this round of the flu. I knew keeping the lungs clear was vital. I had enough rounds of pneumonia growing up to know first hand what can go wrong. Once the cough turned wet I focused on getting the mucus out rather than controlling the cough. Zarbee’s cough plus mucus really helped the baby stay comfortable but keep her lungs clear. The older kids went through a large back of cough drops and a couple of bottles of Hyland’s kid’s cough syrup.
Eventually, to encourage the kids’ cough to clear out the mucus I swapped the kids’ cough drops for halls defense vitamin C drops. No one tell them that though. It did the job of making them feel comforted and boosted their immune systems to fight it off. A win-win situation.
We drug down mattresses and cuddled the family up in the family room where everyone was together and could watch TV so the children were likely to rest. A large pan lined with a grocery bag sliding the handles over the handles of the pan made the perfect bucket for when kids got sick.
We let the kids binge-watch whatever they wanted on Netflix. When one fell asleep whoever was awake would reach over and grab the PlayStation 4 controller to switch to whatever they wanted to watch. Once they started to feel better they would venture into coloring, doing small puzzles, or playing games. The rule was they had to stay still and rest not run around. After all, rest helps us heal faster.
By putting everyone in one room I was able to take care of everyone despite being very sick myself. My husband did have to take a day off once I hit the worst of it so I could spend the worst of the fever sleeping and nursing baby to comfort her through it.
The younger kids were all about cuddling with mommy while sick. Of course, this was a major advantage for me. I could get them to snuggle in bed with me and watch whatever was on TV until they drifted back asleep. Once the younger children where asleep snuggled with me I could sleep and heal myself.
We had a close call where we thought our 3 year old would have to go in for an inhaler but were able to get the mucus to break up with the babies Zarbee’s and some essential oils in the diffuser. Had we not gotten her congestion under control we would have used Teledoc to get her an inhaler to help clear her lungs like I was given often as a child. Hospitals are asking patients with the flu to NOT come in unless it becomes an emergency but, I am not willing to take risks with something claiming the lives of so many this year so if it had gotten too bad I would have used to the local Emergency room for a chest x-ray and treatment.
While many are rushing to get Tamiflu it is selling out every time it comes into stock and has some nasty side effects showing up including hallucinations. I do not recommend using Tamiflu on your child but if your local pharmacy has Oscillococcinum in stock it can greatly reduce your time with the flu and the symptoms making it well worth hunting down.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a child get the flu to keep you can help their Dr by keeping a log of symptoms, temperature readings, and medication dosages. Not only is this handy if your child must go in for medical care, but it is also a lifesaver when balancing multiple sick children. Keeping a log allowed me even in the fog of illness myself to anticipate the needs each child would have next to help keep them comfortable while the battled the flu.
If your child falls in with the flu you can comfort them with some of these quick tips.
Frozen popsicles. Using a mold to make popsicles with your child’s favorite sports drink is perfect for fighting fever and the dehydration that comes with it.
Pull out all of the pillows and stuffed animals to give your child enough to prop themselves up while sleeping or resting.
Offer soups, crackers, and light easy to digest foods. If your child struggles to eat try allowing a food you normally do not but avoid excess sugar that can suppress the immune system.
Give your child an immune boost with everything you have on hand. Garlic and onion in foods. Extra vitamins, even doubling your childs daily vitamin can help. And a germ-killing essential oil blend to help your child fight the flu any secondary infections.
Encourage your child to sleep. If they struggle to sleep talk to your child’s doctor about offering a sleep aid like Benadryl or melatonin to help your child sleep.