Your child might be coughing, sneezing, having trouble breathing, or feeling sore all over. While the tendency may be to empty your medicine cabinet, as a parent, sometimes taking the best care of your child’s health means using a more thoughtful approach to handling sickness. Understanding that children get sick is the first step toward being prepared. Once you’ve done your self-diagnosis, follow these five tips if your child’s sickness still hasn’t gone away.
Make Sure You’re Not Making Your Child’s Sickness Worse
If you’re allowing your child to get a significant amount of exercise, you might be doing more harm than good. From the common cold to influenza, to bacterial infections and viruses, few mistakes are worse than not letting your child get enough rest. The first step toward achieving improved health is making sure your child is eating well and getting plenty of sleep. But are you overdoing it on cough medicine? Eating foods that don’t help reduce inflammation? Not making sure your child gets enough water? The reality is, there are endless ways to make your child’s sickness worse unless you take the time to browse popular medical websites, contact your doctor, or get medical advice from an expert. Slow down and read both your medication labels and nutritional facts found on the food your children eat. Their health may just depend on you treating their sickness more effectively and not making it worse.
Know Which Symptoms Require Medical Attention
Some symptoms require a medical professional’s assistance to treat. For example, the return of flu-like symptoms with worsened fever, cough, or fast and troubled breathing could indicate an illness is progressing toward vital organs. Every year, 20,000 medical malpractice claims are filed. One reason behind lost claims is that parents may wait to seek medical attention for a child’s illness, and thus, find that a medical professional can do little to treat the illness. Other times, symptoms like dehydration can be fixed in your own home, making the extra money spent on hospitalization unnecessary in the short term. From severe lethargy to extreme drowsiness, if you don’t know what the symptoms mean, you shouldn’t hesitate to inquire. Sometimes, your child’s health may depend on you calling for help sooner rather than later.
Offer Reassurance and Emotional Support
Whether your child is suffering from a common cold or the flu, they may begin to worry about the nature of their symptoms, whether they’ll ever go away, and why nothing that’s being done is making them feel any better. This is usually the sign of either a more serious medical condition or the simple fact that your child is upset about being sick. Take the time to reassure children by explaining their symptoms, describing the treatments used and mentioning the timeline for expected recovery. While 75% of urgent care clinics have a family practice specialist on staff, only 47% have an emergency medicine specialist working, meaning that sometimes, it’s up to you to provide emotional support when medical professionals are too busy.
Take Advantage of Over-the-Counter Medicines
Over-the-counter medicines are readily available and designed to treat short-term illnesses at home. But there are times when other variables can make OTC medicines even more important. If you’re not taking care of your home and cleaning regularly, you might have a lot of allergens circulating in your air. Allergens, dirt odors, and stains build up in the carpet, which is why you should have it cleaned at least once a year. Otherwise, you have to worry about these irritants getting into your child’s lungs and aggravating an existing cough. Fortunately, for health problems limited to your home, you can use products found in your local drugstore as long as you take the time to research the ingredients. Some parents might be worried about some of these ingredients and will consequently make the mistake of avoiding OTC medicines completely. Don’t make this mistake. Help your child feel better today by using medicines that your family doctor would recommend you take anyway.
Few experiences are as unfortunate as seeing your child sick. As a parent, their health matters to you more than anything, and so much that even the common cold can make everyone in the house feel sad. The important thing is not to trick yourself into believing that over-the-counter medicines won’t work. Additionally, as long as you know when to seek medical attention, you should be okay. But until a sickness goes away, sometimes all your child needs is a reminder that everything is going to be okay.