I remember when my first child was about a year old and we were having a conversation with friends, who had a slightly older child, about crèche. They were relating their experience with the ‘toddler cough’ that he gets from school, and how these respiratory infections inevitably spread to the entire family! I was mortified. The idea of my child being frequently ill and my not being able to control it made me anxious. It’s one of the reasons I’m against taking babies to crèche before the age of 2.
Fast forward to four years later – we have a crèche going 5 and 3 year old, and a one year old at home. How are we dealing with the cough and sniffles?
1. WE ALLOW THE BODY TO DO WHAT IT KNOWS BEST – HEAL ITSELF.
The body, typically, can fight minor infections if you give it enough time. Some experts say a cough can last up to 6 weeks. We prefer to give it two weeks.
2. WE KEEP THEM ON MULTI-VITAMINS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
I believe this makes up for any vitamins they might have missed from their diet and that it strengthens their immunity and makes them a bit more resistant to illnesses.
3. WE MANAGE THE DISCOMFORT.
We use Calpol, Nurofen or Panado for the fever and by ensuring that runny noses are blown regularly. For the one year old who can’t quite blow her nose, we suck out the mucous with a NoseFrida nasal aspirator. These can be found at any Dischem.
4. WE DON’T KEEP THEM FROM SCHOOL.
This is often the case, except in instances where we feel the school won’t be able to manage their temperature well (by giving them enough liquids and enough down time) because, well, it’s not a clinic. If we kept them from school every time they got sick they would probably spend more time at home than at school and they get the germs there anyway.
5. MANAGE THE TEMPERATURE.
If the temperature is higher than we’re comfortable with then we increase the liquid intake and keep them cool with a damp cloth and by removing clothing.
6. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP.
If the temperature spikes and goes beyond 38 degrees then we revert to our standard parents mode and rush to the Emergency Room at 11pm, all whilst frantically sending ‘Please pray’ texts to family and friends. The doctor on call always sends us home with a cough mixture, pain meds and very rarely, antibiotics.
These things have helped us but I must add that I am constantly monitoring the symptoms to make sure it’s nothing more serious like meningitis. How do you manage your child’s cough or cold?