Batten down the hatches because your child (or entire family) has a fever, a cough or worse, vomiting and diarrhea. We’ve all been there: sleep-deprived, trying to keep ourselves healthy and prevent the spread of disease in the house of the unwashed. (Not literally, but it can feel that way!) Running out to buy more supplies is simply out of the question. Even if you don’t have kids, the last thing you feel like doing when you or your spouse is sick is driving to the store. Here is a list of items that you can stockpile while you are healthy and avoid any additional discomfort when the inevitable flu or cold is bound to occur. This list is not entirely comprehensive so please let me know if there is anything you and your family prefer to keep on hand.
For Your Sick Ones
- Their own wastebasket or bucket
- Lots of plastic garbage bags
- 2 thermometers (1 for upstairs and another for downstairs)
- Plastic fitted sheet to put on their bed
- Plastic tablecloths for the couch and to line the floor near the wastebasket
- A tray to carry drinks and meds
- Cough drops
- Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen (check expiration date)
- Pepto Bismol
- Frozen Pedialyte pops (in the store they are not frozen and take up to 48 hours to finally freeze so by then it’s too late)
- Saltine or Club crackers
- Ginger Ale
- Chicken soup
- Vapor Rub
- Johnson and Johnson Vapor Bath
- Humidifier (one for each child)
- Otoscope (if ear infections are common in your household)
For Your Home
- Lots of paper towels
- Disinfecting spray
- Laundry detergent
- Plastic gloves (your hands will be raw from washing them so much)
- Air purifier
Tips When You’re In The Thick Of It
- Section off sick and healthy areas. It will make disinfecting much easier. I allow the child who is sick to be in her room or in the family room with one bathroom that is only hers to use until she is no longer contagious.
- Keep a notepad and pen handy to write down their temperature, how many times they vomited, etc. It helps keep track of it all when your brain turns to mush and the nurse on the phone needs specifics.
- This gem is from a mom who said she saved their old crib mattress and lets her child sleep on that instead of her bed. It’s lower to the ground and if they are vomiting, there is less chance for missing the bucket. Good one C!
- Open the windows. Even if it’s arctic cold, letting some fresh air into the house for a few minutes can help clear the stale air.
- If you are battling this on your own because your husband is out of town or works late, take up any kind offers from other moms to pick things up while they are out. They really DO want to help and YOU really should not feel guilty for asking them to grab whatever it is you need. It is amazing how moms will band together in times of need and pretty neat to witness. I admit that I need to be better about accepting help myself so this is something to work on.
- Try to grab a nap or put your feet up if your little one is napping. If that isn’t possible, and believe me I have been there, then delegate some duties to your husband when he gets home so that you can rest.
- For the children who are healthy and want to play it can be hard to keep them entertained and quiet. Try to have a new book, DVD or game on hand so they can have fun without relying on you to come up with something new to do.
- Take a deep breath and remember that this too shall pass. It is stressful and heart-breaking to see your child so sick and helpless. If you’ve been going nonstop all day, treat yourself to a hot shower and a glass of wine when the hubby gets home. You’ve earned it!
This post was inspired by the extreme episode of vomiting my oldest experienced last week. Plastic became my new best friend and I don’t think I’ve done that much laundry since she was a baby. She was vomiting about every 15 minutes for 12 hours straight and, at one point, it became projectile. Through her tears she said, “Mom, it was like a fountain coming out of me!” The famous scene from The Exorcist now has nothing on us. Luckily, our doctor finally prescribed some Zofran and that settled her stomach.
Be prepared and stay strong out there everyone.