Kids get sick. If they are like my kids, they get sick ALL. THE. TIME.
Well there are lots of reasons. When a child is first born, their immune system isn’t very strong because they haven’t had a chance to build up their immunity yet. They haven’t been exposed to many viruses or vaccines. Then as they start to grow and discover new things, they put EVERYTHING in their mouth. When they are about 2-3, they will put less in their mouth, but they may start preschool…..and then kindergarten at age 5…. Five days a week they will basically be going to a germ factory.
How many kids do you think wash their hands before they eat lunch at school? Not enough. Now I know a lot of teachers have them squirt their hands with antibacterial gel, like Germ-X, but do you really think they rub it on ALL their fingers, and even if they do, that stuff doesn’t kill all viruses. For example, it can’t kill the stomach virus; only washing your hands with soap and water can kill it. On top of all that, kids love to SHARE. I’m all for kids sharing, but not when it is food or drinks. Also, most schools have a rule where you can’t send your kid back to school until they have been without a fever for at least 24 hours, but how many parents actually follow this rule? A lot of parents just give there kid some Tylenol in the morning, to make it look like they don’t have a fever, but as soon as the Tylenol wears off they are back to feeling crummy, and they just infected there entire class while they were there. Even if they really didn’t have a fever anymore, they could still be contagious, especially if they are coughing on everyone.
As you can see, it’s VERY easy for a child to get sick.
Now, when my first child was born, even though I knew that kids got sick, my anxiety would skyrocket so high that I would have panic attacks. I gave an example of when this happened in this post. I couldn’t control this anxiety that would come over me each time he got sick. It was the “what if” thoughts that would scare me most, and I would just be in a constant state of anxiety, my body would tense up, I’d have a hard time breathing, and I wouldn’t be able to eat or sleep much until I knew he was getting better and would be ok. My ultimate fear was that I would have to take them to the ER, because for some reason I had this horrible fear of the ER, but I have no idea why.
Fast forward 7 years, 2 more kids, and 3 trips to the ER, I still get worried when my kids get sick, but I have found ways to manage my anxiety, and I don’t think the ER is a scary place anymore. As I write this post, my oldest currently has strep throat (and I’m praying my twins don’t get it). He came down with a headache and fever a few nights ago, so I gave him some Tylenol and decided just to watch to see if he got worse. When he woke up with an even higher fever two days later, I knew that it wasn’t just a virus and that I needed to take him to the doctor. Sure enough the strep test was positive. If this was 7 years ago, I’m sure I would have freaked out, but since he has been sick MANY times over the past 7 years, and so have my twins, I’d say I’m pretty good at managing fevers and sickness by now. I really think that having dealt with it so many times, it’s almost as if I’ve gotten “used to it”, so it doesn’t freak me out as much anymore.
Although I don’t like it when they have a fever, vomiting is what would trigger my anxiety the most. I think because it’s one of those unknowns, where you just don’t know how many times they will puke, for how long, and if they will get to dehydrated. When my oldest was little he got the stomach virus ALL THE TIME. It freaked me out each time, even sent me into a panic attack in the beginning, but over the years I have learned how to treat him when he has it and how to manage my anxiety. I want to share with you some things that have helped me and will hopefully help you.
10 things to help calm your worries when kids are sick:
- Remember that kids get sick. It’s a part of childhood.
- Know it won’t last for ever. Repeat “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”
- Educate yourself on how the illness should run it’s course, so you can reassure yourself that the symptoms your child is having are normal, and what would warrant a call to the doctor. Dr. Sears’s website, http://www.askdrsears.com, is reputable and full of great information. I have used it a lot!
- Know there are many parents dealing with sick kids all the time, you are not alone.
- Know that most kids get over illnesses pretty quickly
- Remember your doctor is just a phone call away
- Be prepared: Have thermometers, such as this one that I love, Children’s Tylenol or Infant Tylenol (depending on the age of your child), Children’s Motrin, Children’s Benadryl, and Pedialyte or Gatorade in your house, and know what doses you should give your child (if you don’t know ask your doctor)
- Know that the ER is not a scary place, if for some reason you had to take your child there. It is a place to HELP, not hurt
- If you’ve been through it before, you will get through it again (especially if you have more than one kid!)
- Take a break. It’s not easy dealing with a sick kid, so step outside for a minute and take a deep breath. They need you to be feeling your best!