Tag Archives: sick kids

Springing Into Allergy Season

Look at that face. Cute as hell? Absolutely. But the puffy face, filth, and perpetually runny nose? Welcome to springtime allergy season at the Daddy Files household.

I don’t remember this being a problem when I was a kid. I played outside all the time, delighted in baseball, and rolled around in freshly cut grass. But my kids? They are snot factories and the tap is always running (right down their faces). When the seasons change, my kids are more stuffed up than the teddy bears they use for snot rags and it lasts for MONTHS!

And as it turns out, I’m not alone. Did you know:

  • Allergies are the third most common chronic disease among kids 18 and younger
  • Allergies prompt 17 million doctor visits each year

The hardest part is nighttime when they lie down. As soon as they go horizontal, the coughing begins. And then the hacking. Followed by copious amounts of nose-blowing. We have to put boxes of tissues right next to their pillows so they can have access to them all through the night. Picking them up in the morning is a joy, let me tell you.

Antihistamines seem to help a little bit, but they never cure the sleeping issue. It’s actually gotten so bad we’re actually taking Sam to an ENT next month to see if there’s anything else going on in addition to allergies.

In the meantime, if you’re a parent of a kid with chronic allergies, here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking about giving your children a dose of something, courtesy of KnowYourOTCs.org (who I’m working with on this sponsored post):

  • Some OTC oral allergy medicines are available in different dosage strengths. Read the Drug Facts label carefully for appropriate child dosing information and contact a healthcare provider as directed.
  • Some oral allergy medicines may cause excitability or nervousness, especially in children. If you have any questions, contact your child’s healthcare provider.
  • Never use any allergy medicine to sedate or make a child sleepy.

In the meantime, check out this great infographic and if your kids are anything like mine — good luck! You’re going to need it this allergy season.

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5 Ways to Keep Kids Healthy During Cold & Cough Season

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Winter is coming. Which means so is cold and cough season for your kids.

The start of school plus the onslaught of cold temperatures means it’s no so much a matter of if your kids will get sick, but when. But just because winter coughs and colds seem inevitable doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to prevent them, and then treat them effectively once they arrive.

5. Make Sure They Wash Their Hands
Tell your kids to wash their hands. And then, when they either forget or choose to ignore you, physically walk them in to the bathroom and force them to do it like the mean task master you are. Because honestly, it’s that important. Cold and flu are caused by viruses, and they are not airborne (meaning you can’t get sick just from being in the same room with someone with a cold). It has to be from direct contact. So every time you blow your nose and get some on you or cough into your hand and then have contact with people, you’re spreading the problem. That’s why washing your hands is so vital to stop the spread. Also, teach kids to sneeze into the crook of their elbows instead of their hands.

4. Make Sure They Get Lots of Rest
For reasons researchers still fully don’t understand, getting lots of sleep wards off sickness. Studies have shown a lack of ample sleep leads to decreased immunity, including fewer white blood cells (which help our bodies fight against infection) and antibodies (which fight against germs). Generally speaking, toddlers need between 11 and 13 hours of a sleep a night, while young, schoolchildren require approximately 10-11 hours a night. If you have a tween, shoot for 9-10 hours with teenagers needing 8-9 hours a day.

3. Make Sure They Sing
You’re probably thinking “Huh? Is this guy crazy?” The answer could still be yes, but it has nothing to do with this advice. Japanese researchers tested blood and saliva from a test group before and after they engaged in copious amounts of singing. They found after the singing was finished, the level of stress-related hormones dropped while immunoglobulin A — which helps battle viruses and bacteria — rose. The good news is your kids will have a stronger immune system, but the bad news is you’re going to have to listen to “Let It Go” a few more times. The things we do for our kids, right?

2. KEEP SICK KIDS HOME!!!
I get this one is tough because a lot of us rely on day care and school while we’re at work. But when kids get sick and go to school with dozens of other children who might not have read this article and don’t practice these tips, the likelihood of spreading viruses increases exponentially. So if your child does get sick, think quarantine. Lay low and stay in the house for a few days while you treat it, and don’t contribute to the germ/bacteria/virus farm that is daycare and school. Trust me, you don’t want it to come out that your kid is Patient Zero because then you’re THOSE parents. And no one wants to be those parents.

1. Use Little Remedies
If the cough and cold plague does descend upon your offspring, you’ll want to know the best way to treat it. For my money, I go with Little Remedies Cough & Immune Support. My wife and I are big on medicines that are as natural as possible, and this fits the bill. This product contains elderberry and honey to soothe sore throats and reduce coughing, and contains zero alcohol, saccharin, or high-fructose corn syrup. Any kids older than 12 months can have it, and my kids don’t mind the taste and benefit greatly. We use Little Remedies every time we can and we’re never disappointed.

***Disclaimer: I was compensated by Little Remedies for this post. However, I used their products way before they ever approached me and I stand by their effectiveness and endorse them 100%. Check out their website and Facebook page.

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5 Ways to Treat Kids With Stuffy Noses

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School is back is session, fall is turning to winter, and that means your kids have either been sick, are sick right this second, or will be sick very soon.

That’s not me thinking the sky is falling or being pessimistic either, it’s just the reality of the situation. First of all, the weather and the changing of the seasons often bring on colds and congestion on its own. But if your children go to daycare or have started school, forget about it. Your kids will get sick because school is a germ farm and cold incubator. Just assume the classroom pet is that monkey from Outbreak. That’s how sure I am your kid is getting sick.

So instead of pretending these kid colds can be prevented, I’m here to level with you and talk about how they can be dealt with effectively. Here are my five best tips to treat kids with stuffy noses.

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5. Elevate the Head When They Sleep
This one is basic but very important, because if your kid is sleeping on an angle he is going to be able to breathe a lot easier. If you’re dealing with a toddler or an older child, then bust out those extra pillows and prop him up. Now if most kids are like my oldest, they flop around like maniacal fish after they’ve been caught and put on land. So make sure you head back in and readjust accordingly throughout the night. If you’re dealing with an infant, the best trick we ever learned was to place a wedge (or even a towel or two) underneath the crib mattress. That will help elevate your baby’s head and increase the chances of him sleeping more peacefully.

4. Take a Steam
No I’m not advocating you leave everyone else behind and bask in the loveliness of a spa or to make major renovations to your house by putting in a steam room. But when your little one is stuffed up, running the shower extra hot and temporarily turning your bathroom into a sauna is a great way to relieve congestion and help your kiddo breathe easy. Just turn the water on, close the door, and then have your kid sit in the bathroom for 5-10 minutes. It’s not a permanent fix but it’s saved us some sanity on more than one occasion.

3. Keep Your Kids Hydrated
Although simple, this one all too often goes overlooked. It’s vital for your sick kids to stay hydrated with lots of fluids, especially when they’re not feeling well. Why? Because fluids prevent dehydration and thin the mucus, which helps tremendously when unclogging a stuffy nose. Water is your best bet here, but fruit juices and milk are acceptable too. Just avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks such as soda. If they’re REALLY picky, try going for a sugar-free popsicle or even soup.

2. Use Saline Drops and a Nasal Aspirator
This process is disgusting, but totally necessary to get your little ones on the road to recovery. The first thing you need to do is find a brand you like and trust. I had no clue about this stuff when I first became a dad, but my wife swears by Little Remedies and now so do I. In fact, it’s the only nasal aspirator she’ll use (and I swear she tried them all). If you have an infant, I’d grab their Stuffy Nose Kit, which includes saline drops/spray and the aspirator with the soft, flexible angled tip. If you’re dealing with a toddler (or you just need the saline and not the aspirator), you can buy the saline spray by itself. It’s best with both parents helping — one to hold the baby and the other to do the dirty work. Put a couple of drops into the first nostril, let it work its magic, and then either have them blow or use the aspirator to suction the mucus out. Clean off the aspirator and do the same with the other nostril. They scream and yell and freak out a bit at first, but once they’re unclogged you can see and hear how much easier it is for them to breathe. Totally worth it.

1. Keep It Clean
You’ve got to do your best to keep a child’s environment clean and free of pollutants and irritants, which will give him a much easier time breathing. First of all (and I can’t believe this still has to be said, but it does), no smoking. Breathing in smoke when you’re healthy is hard enough, but when you have a cold it’s that much more wretched. And you should quit anyway. Also, if you have a pet whose dander could be making things more difficult, running the vacuum an extra time wouldn’t hurt. But try to remember other things you might not think of, like any possible mold or even the filter on your air conditioner or furnace. Those things can get pretty nasty and most people don’t realize it’s recommended to change the filter every two months or so. These might seem like insignificant things, but they all add up quickly and definitely affect your child’s ability to breathe when congested.

***Disclaimer: I was compensated by Little Remedies for this post. However, I used their products way before they ever approached me and I stand by their effectiveness and endorse them 100%. Check out their website and Facebook page.

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The Best Sick Day Activity for Kids

sicktvNot to be outdone by his little brother’s hospital stay earlier this month, Will decided it was time for him to spike a fever and give us a scare. But I quickly learned there is one thing more daunting than a 104.3-degree fever — entertaining a 5-year-old who is bored and trapped inside the house.

This is tricky business. You can’t go anywhere because he’s sick and you have to limit contact with other people. You can’t take him outside because it’s New England in winter and it’s FREEZING. It also doesn’t help that Will was so tired and his energy so depleted by this 4-day fever, that he really couldn’t be on his feet for very long before he’d start fading. Yet when he sat back on the couch he’d utter the all too familiar hue and cry of kids the world over — “DAAAAAAD, I’M BORED!”

So what do you do? If you’re me, you sit that kid in front of the TV all day!

Continue reading The Best Sick Day Activity for Kids

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