What to Keep On Hand When Kids Get Sick

From chews, gummies, and tablets to grape, cherry, and bubblegum, kids medicine comes in many forms and flavors. Brush up on your meds school for parents know-how and read on find out what you need to keep on hand for your sick kid (ages 2 and over), as it relates to everything from kids fever and cold medicine to sanitizers and air quality devices.

Thermometers to Interpret a Sick Kid's Symptoms

As your child gets dressed in the morning, they mutter the words: "I don't feel good." With the help of a reliable thermometer, you can take your child's temperature to help determine if this sudden sense of sickness is something to worry about, or if it's a "sick day" attempt at staying home. No need to break the bank, as all digital thermometers should all do the job, no matter the price. A thermometer quickly and accurately takes your potentially sick kid's temperature and thus tells you if it's time to call their physician or perhaps pat your kiddo on the back and usher them to the bus stop. Fever in kids is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit; not higher and not lower. There's no such thing as kiddos that "run hot" or "run cold." From the American Academy of Pediatrics: Use a digital thermometer to check your child's temperature. It's also important to understand the how to take your child's temperature as well as the different types of thermometers available and which ones may be most appropriate for your child's age.

Sick Kids Medicine to Relieve Pain & Reduce Fever

Your child has a fever but is feeling otherwise fine. Perhaps he or she has already been evaluated by their physician. There is no need to use medication to reduce the fever; it's a natural immune response to help rid the body of bacteria and viruses. In other words, a mild fever is actually helping, to a point. When temperatures rise, and your sick kid is miserable, however, there is no harm in bringing temperatures down and luckily, there are a few different ways to reduce fever. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are popular and effective kids' medicines that relieve pain and reduce fever. Children's Ibuprofen helps keep fevers in check (to be used in children ages six months and older - always double check directions and ages). Wondering which one to use? It depends on your child; Ibuprofen might work better, but Tylenol might be easier on your sick kid's stomach. Medication safety tip from the American Academy of Pediatrics: "Remember that fever can be the body's way to fight infection. Be careful not to casually use fever-reducing medication."


Important notes about kid medicine: Consult your child's physician before giving aspirin. Administer antibiotics only when prescribed by a doctor, as overuse can potentially lead to autoimmune disease, allergies, asthma, and even obesity.

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Cough & Cold Medicine to Relieve a Sick Kid's Symptoms

When a cough and cold have settled in, and your sick kid is suffering, it's time to call on kid's cold medicine. Children's cough and cold medicines take on stuffy noses, chest congestion, and other cold symptoms, which helps your sniffling squirt start feeling better. It's no spoonful of sugar, but the mixed berry flavor makes the medicine go down in the most delightful way. No matter your sick kid's age, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, "don't underestimate the power of TLC. Your caring and comfort is one of the best medicines for your child."


From the American Academy of Pediatrics: Cough and cold medicine are not to be given to sick kids under age four. However, there are other ways you can treat your toddler's symptoms.

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A Little Something to Settle a Sick Kid's Stomach Issues

Upset stomach in kids can be caused by all manner of things. If your child complains of a bellyache, ask them first when the last time was that they went "number two," as they may be constipated. If it has been three to four days, give them Miralax and water (check directions for proper dosing). This will often fix a sick kid's suffering stomach. If you learn that bowel movements aren't backed up, Children's Pepto Chewable Tablets can help make little bellies feel better. Important note about your number one's, well, number two: Pepto may make your child's stool turn dark in color. Black, or melanic stool, is often the result of blood being present which is not okay and should be checked out by your child's physician. That said if your kiddo exhibited normal stool before taking Pepto, and then it turned dark in color, that is likely nothing to worry about. When in doubt, however, always check with your child's doctor.

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Nasal Rinses & Aspirators for a Sick Kid's Runny Nose

Kids get sick, have runny noses, and, thus, need to blow their runny nose. For sick kids who are older, your biggest challenge is finding tissues that are soft enough for their sore sneezer. If, on the other hand, you have a young child or toddler, try explaining to them how to blow their nose. That's where nasal aspirators come in handy. They quickly and easily help you extract all of that snot out of a sick kid's schnoz, while at the same time saving you from, well, swallowing their boogers (ick). Then, once they get older, you can encourage your older child to take their nasal passage care to a whole new level with the help of nasal rinses. From the doc: Hey, moms, and dads. Nasal rinses are good for you too!

Lotion to Relieve a Sick Kid's Rash

A rash will often come on with viruses. Help soothe irritated skin with a lavender scented lotion which can naturally help calm and relax a sick kid, especially after a long bubble bath. Smitten with the smell yourself? Go on and slather it on yourself as well, moms and dads. You deserve it!


Important: If you notice a rash on your child, check to see if it is what doctors call a "blanchable rash." Do this by pressing gently on the rash. If it pales or turns " white" in color, it is a blanchable rash, which is less concerning, though still may require evaluation, depending on other symptoms, However, if it does not blanch (turn white), it is a "nonblanchable rash" and requires immediate evaluation.

Electrolytes to Keep a Sick Kid Hydrated

Dehydration is a common complication of any illness in children. Sometimes this is because of fluid loss (diarrhea and vomiting), while other times a sick kid simply will not drink enough because they don't feel well. Your child will have a specific fluid requirement based on his or her weight which your pediatrician or family practice doctor can help you determine. From there, keep your sick kid hydrated with the parent-favorite, Pedialyte. This hydration hero offers just the right formulation of electrolytes and fluids; more beneficial than Gatorade, 7up, or Sprite, even, for many reasons, not the least of which is it has less sugar. When your child physician identifies the proper amount of fluid your sick kid should be taking in, be warned that it may sound like a lot. It's important to understand that popsicles and Jello count as fluid, as well as broth from soups like chicken noodle. Stock up on a few of these items and help your youngster stay hydrated as they heal.

Humidifier to Help a Sick Kid Breathe Easier & Sleep Better

Sleep can be hard to come by on a good day, let alone when there is a sick kid in the household. A humidifier can help combat dry air that is irritating to the lungs and nasal passages by keeping them moist for up to 12 hours. As a result, this cool mist maker can help prevent bloody noses, calm coughs, and take the edge off sore throats, which all add up to a better night's rest for your sick kid.

Tip: Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and keep humidifiers clean, so you're not putting mold and bacteria back into the air (ew). From the American Academy of Pediatrics: While cool-mist humidifiers are beneficial to children with colds, "hot-water vaporizers are not recommended since they can cause serious scalds or burns."

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Hand Soap & Sanitizers to Reduce the Spread of Germs

When one member of the family falls ill, they can spread it to the whole household. Stop the madness. There are numerous ways to stay healthy when your kid is sick; one of which is to wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Save yourself and others from sniffles, coughs, fevers, sore throats with the help of hand sanitizer. Your sick kid will enjoy the fresh scent many brands offer, and you will delight in knowing it is killing 99.9 percent of germs.

From the American Academy of Pediatrics: It is "recommended that parents and teachers use the same caution with hand sanitizer as with any other possibly poisonous item."

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