With the Kids

What To Do When the Kids Get Sick

As winter is almost over, the ‘sick’ season is still here. My kids are now sick and every time this happens, it takes me a few days to realize I need to do something about it. So I’ve come up with a few things I should be doing on day 1, so by day 3 we can skip the doctors office and be on our way to getting better.

Humidifier. I’m pretty good at getting the humidifier out the minute one of us has a runny nose. I feel like it really helps, providing some relief, so this is usually the first thing I do. We use the Ultrasonic Humidifier from Vicks. This one is fairly quiet and pretty easy to clean.

Water, Water, Water. I don’t drink enough water myself, so offering it to my kids is hard to remember. But when they’re sick I do try to fill a sippy cup for each of them that they drink from all day. Water does have healing properties, replenishing the body and can help flush out toxins. I just need to make it a habit to drink my recommended eight glasses a day.

Airborne/Emergen-C. If I can sense one of us starting to get sick, I try to give a dose of Airborne or Emergen-C right away. It can help boost their immune system, sometimes preventing them from getting sick. I know when I feel a cold coming, like that scratchy feeling in the back of my throat, I take an Airborne and it tends to go away. You gotta love the option to get rid of it before it even comes!

Sleep. My kids do pretty good in this area. Most of the time when they’re sick, they’re too tired to care when I put them to bed early. Getting to bed early is important, as they always feel better in the morning. It’s also helpful for me to remember when I’m sick – the benefit of getting a good night’s rest.

Calling The Doctor Nurse. My pediatrician’s nurse is great to answer questions over the phone, she tells me to call her anytime my kids are sick. I try to call ahead of time, finding out if there’s something I can do for them at home, before I go in and pay $25 for the doctor to say that it’ll just have to run it’s course. Almost always, she simply suggests one of the before mentioned items, humidifier, water, sleep, but it’s great to get a “professional’s” opinion.

What tips and tricks do you have when your kids get sick?


  1. I am a FIRM believer in the humidifier, cool mist, moreover. Finally after years of my 5 yr old son suffering from chronic croup, asmha, and allergies, I have wised up and have avoided numerous trips to the doctor this season. I ran the humidifier since October, which is when the allergies start here in FL, and it’s still running to-date. Propping the mattress is a big one with the coughs, simply putting a firm pillow under the mattress or using books underneath the legs of the bed, really cuts down on the coughing at night. Additionally, since allergies run in the family, I just start dispensing liquid Claritin (generic form of course), once daily for about 7 days and 9/10 times, the cold symptoms go away without a trip to the doc. I can’t tell you how many “wasted” co-pays I have paid, only for the doctor to say, “oh it’s just a little allergy symptom, maybe some over-the-counter allergy medicine and a humidifier and it should clear it up!”. I think too, by the time you get to your third child, you’re just not as jumpy about rushing to the doctor for every little sniffle, although I’m sure a lot of other mommies figure it out a lot sooner than I did!! HA! Great post! I’ve heard alot about the emergen-c stuff and airborne, I need to remember to pick some of that stuff up so that I can give it a try!
    Hope your little ones are feeling better by now! =)

  2. I too use Airborne, but I double it up with Zicam. I am in LOVE with this stuff!!! It’s safe down to 3 yrs old, and it’s a zinc-based proven cold preventer! I’ve found that the nasal spray gel is the most tolerable (the lozenges and other stuff are a little gross.) But it WORKS!!! Holy cow it’s worth it!

  3. Liz – I’ve always waited to give my kids Airborne until they’re 2. I don’t know if that’s a rule or not, but I give them half a dose when they’re 2 until they’re about 4. BUT of course ask a doctor before administering medication, I’m no authority!! :)

  4. I have a brand new grand daughter this Valentine day. The little thing, only few days old got cold from her mom. Mom recovered with antibiotic but little Zoe became really shocked, bewildered with the coughing fit (she was already struggling with the burping experience). All these are very new and strange to her. The only comfort we could give her was taking her to the bathroom and run the warm shower and hold her sitting at the edge of the bath tub. We learned that we could do that several times a day not exceeding five minutes each time. This might help toddlers and older children too. Good luck – Dita.

  5. Great tips and tricks! My littles are still sick and I’m going to try a few of these suggestions. Vicks, lozenges, nasal spray.

    And I love to know about the alcohol-based hand sanitizer. I’ll make sure it’s got that before we use it!

  6. This tip is for when things get a little throw uppy. (I’m sure that’s a word.) Use a ziplock bag. Throw up goes in and you zip and throw it in the trash never to be smelled again.

  7. I’ve always been one to let sickness run its course. Unless it’s strep throat or something with some serious side effects, we just give the kids over the counter medicine and plenty of rest. Thank the Lord, we really have never been a sickly family :)

  8. My daughter has had her first ear infection this past week. And of course that came with a fever. Giving her lots of cold water to drink seemed to help. I’ve had lots of people tell me that for colds, it helps to rub Vicks VapoRub on babies’ feet – but I’ve also read that that’s actually bad for them. I don’t know – I have tried it, but it didn’t seem to help.

  9. So much of the immune system is in our gut. I drink kefir to maintain a healthy gut. My son doesn’t like the taste, but is good about taking medicine from a 1 tsp dropper. So we call kefir “white medicine” and I give him 1 tsp every 2-3 hours so that his body can heal faster. It really works! He had a stomach virus on Sunday and Monday, but we didn’t need to visit the doctor because the kefir he took was what stopped the diarrhea within a day.

    Also we use our Crane Adorable humidifiers every night almost all year long, whether we are sick or not. We have the pig and the frog. They make a big difference in the moisture that’s in our air while we sleep.

  10. Saline nasal spray and the aspirator really help clear my kids breathing. They hate it, but it works wonders. For me I’ve been using a neti pot. It’s made my spring allergies a little easier to deal with.

  11. Ugh, I just keep coming up with things. <_<

    Well, one last comment here: It wasn’t until this year that I actually went out and bought a humidifier. Before that I did what a nurse had suggested. When bed and nap times arose I would boil a big pot of water, lay down a pot holder, and place the pot under her crib. I should caution only to do this if you KNOW your child can’t or won’t climb out of the crib. My daughter never has any pillows or things to use as leverage so she never could get out. She still can’t for that matter. ^^

  12. Also we use the receiving blankets or wet baby washcloths for her runny noses. They don’t bother her nearly as much as tissues do.

  13. I use the baby vicks too. I also make batches of Celestial Seasonings Echinacea Complete Care Tea (I find mine with the organic products) and Chicken Ramen.

  14. We are ALL about the hand-washing. As a nurse myself, I’ve seen the proof that nothing prevents the spread of viruses like hand washing. You can also use alcohol based hand sanitizer, it will kill viruses, unlike the antibacterial stuff.
    I have a sick kid home today too, I’m pushing the rest and fluids! Have a good day, stay well.

  15. Once I see a wince at congestion or runny nose I grab nasal spray and nose sucker (nasal aspirator). I do get quite a fight from my daughter but its amazing how well it works. Just spray nasal spray in the nose, wait a minute and then suck all the boogies out.

  16. spray lysol on a lot. bathe them. (get rid of all airborn germs) cold air for hard cough. regular vicks on feet for cough at night. on the chest for nasal congestion otherwise. i remember to give them their vitamins. fluids. feed a fever starve a cold or is it feed a cold starve a fever?? my kids thankfully, rarely get sick so either it works or we’re just really lucky!

  17. I use Baby Vicks on my daughter to help her breathe when she’s sick. It isn’t as strong as the full-strength adult version and has soothing chamomile and lavender scents. It’s great to help her sleep at night.

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