Treating the Flu at Home

I’m still trying to get over that flu that has been going around. Pretty much got the kids past it, but I’m still suffering some. But I’m up and around enough now to share some of the things I did to make my kids more comfortable.

sick day

I did use Tylenol to help with fevers; high as they were I didn’t see a better option. I prefer to limit that as much as possible. And my daughter ended up on an antibiotic because her fevers continued too long, too high, and she developed an ear infection. I really, REALLY hate using antibiotics unless they’re necessary. Seemed reasonable enough this time. Only the second time in her life she’s needed them.

Cool compresses are good for fever also, but this time they really weren’t enough.

The rice bag is a favorite of mine if you need some warmth. This was great for my daughter’s ear infection, and it helped me too when I was just dealing with chills and body aches. It’s a cloth bag that has been filled about halfway with rice and sewn shut. Mine is a lightweight denim, and then a second bag over it of terrycloth. The second bag is not sewn shut, so it can be washed without getting the rice wet.

The rice bag goes into the microwave for 4-5 minutes or so, then stays warm a pretty good amount of time. For my daughter’s ear infection her pediatrician recommended moist heat, so I wrapped the bag in a plastic grocery bag to protect it from dampness, then a towel, then gave her a damp, warm washcloth. The rice bag helped it to stay warm longer than it would have otherwise. If you’ve ever tried to get a nice damp heat to something, you know that it can be a bit of a pain to keep the heat up.

Having everyone sick made me realize that I really need more than one rice bag in the house. They are really easy to make, so I suppose I should just pull out the sewing machine one of these days, find a sturdy enough cloth and go at it. Might even throw in some dried lavendar or something for a nice scent.

Airborne is pretty popular in my home too. We throw it into smoothies so that we don’t have to taste it, and there’s just this slight fizziness to the smoothies. And of course all the fruits and such in the smoothie are really good for you anyhow.

We used honey for the kids’ coughs. It’s been recommended by the FDA that cough medicines really shouldn’t be used for children, and apparently honey is more effective. It has also been suggested that cough medicines aren’t too effective on adults either. I have to admit, I loved the taste of honey as a kid, but taking a spoonful of it now just isn’t that appealling. A small taste is much better.

Tea tree oil is a favorite for congestion. Most often we put a few drops along the rim of the tub while showering; the tea tree oil then evaporates enough to have an impact on congestion along with the steam of the shower. I’ve used it cautiously in baths, and you do have to be careful. Too much irritates the skin in some rather tender areas, in my experience. A couple drops is plenty.

Baths work really well for calming sick kids. I don’t do them too cool, even with fevers. It’s amazing, though, what a bath with some bubbles can do to cheer up a kid who has been feeling miserable all day.

Let’s not forget the classic, homemade chicken soup. Except this time it was turkey soup that I had stocked in the freezer. Still a great comfort for everyone.

And of course, drink plenty of fluids. When the kids are sick is one of the few times that I don’t fuss if they just want juice all day. They’re drinking and that’s important.