Monday, April 27, 2009


So....just this last weekend my oldest son came down with a fever and vomiting which gave me inspiration for this post. I got to thinking, how many times have a wondered as my sick child lay in bed, "how in the world did he catch this?" Then I thought about how many MORE times I have wondered, " son has been a little under the weather but is almost better should I be letting him play with all these kids?"

Our kids can't and shouldn't live in a bubble. They are bound to get sick and exposure to germs can help them stay healthy to a certain extent. Still. My knee jerk reaction is to cringe when I see a child cough all over my oldest and then come and kiss on my baby with a green snotty nose.

Is there some standard you adhere to that helps you gauge whether your child is play date worthy?
Is there illness etiquette for kids?

What are some things you do to help your child get well faster?

Even better... how do you get a child who is obviously sick to act like it and rest?
(I wish I could have half as much energy as my son has when he is sick)

PLEASE comment. We want to hear from you!
Our blog depends on your input. Thank you!


Jessie said...

Not sure that I am the best example for this, because I too believe that kids need to get exposed to at least some stuff to be healthier overall, so I let my kids play with other kids, as long as they aren't *too* sick. For me, *too* sick means one or more of the following:
-green/yellow runny nose
-runny nose that has to be wiped enough times that I need more than 2 tissues/hour
-a cough that if my child's friend had, I wouldn't want her to be around.

On the get better faster thing--lots of fluids, a humidifier, and (this is going to sound totally crazy, but I swear it works) at night I put Baby Vicks Vaporub on my girls feet, then put on footie pajamas or socks. I know, I seriously understand that it sounds crazy, but I swear that there is nothing that will calm a cough like it does. My girls are just like I was, and get this crazy asthma cough thing going at night when they have colds, but this really helps calm that down. Something about the feet helps it go through the body somehow, I guess. Totally weird, I know, but I swear by it. Calming their cough helps them rest better, and thus they seem to get over colds a little quicker. I don't do this during the day, however, because they need time to cough the crud in their bodies up, so they don't get sicker (like with pneumonia or something).

And I can't get my kids to act like they're sick. I wish I could sometimes, so I'd have some idea when they have ear infections, or other issues. My girls are always going going going, though, so this is something we struggle with, too.

Tannie Datwyler said...

As a general rule I am not too fussy about letting my kids out if they just have colds. I REALLY like Jessie's criteria, and I would say that mine is about the same..... except this year I've had a REALLY hard time deciding.

My kids have been sick AT LEAST 10-15 times this year. I know, that seems like I am exaggerating, but I promise that I am not. After keeping them home from church every other week I just didn't know what to do. I think I exposed them to other kids a bit too much later on in the season, but keeping them home all the time was just so hard for me.

At the same time - because they have been sick all the time I've been extra careful to a certain extent in that I kept them home sometimes when they probably would have been fine. I just kept thinking "I'm so tired of colds, I just can't expose someone else to this." It is a fine line, and I really don't have an answer, but just so you know that you aren't alone in this debate.

To get my kids well faster.... I have no advice. Nothing I ever do seems to help. At the beginning of the season my kids were hanging onto their colds 1-2 weeks, but now they are only hanging on to them a few days to a week, so I think their immune systems have just gotten stronger. All we've dealt with this season has been colds and one bout of RSV, so we haven't had anything too horrible. It has just been really wearning. As we speak my little boy is getting over his cold and my little girl is just gearing up for the worst of hers. So I don't have advice for getting kids better because there is little you can do about a cold.

I like the vapor rub idea!!! :) I also would caution against too much cold medicine for a toddler because even though they can take it, it can help them hold onto the cold longer. They need to cough, sneeze, and blow their nose to get the germs out. Those things are NOT the cold - they are the way your body is getting rid of the virus. So, I only give my toddler cold medicine at night if she is REALLY miserable (and occasionally during a nap, for the same reason).

As for helping kids to rest. BAH! I wish I knew the answer. Movie is about all I can think of. Other than that, my toddler runs around like a maniac when she is sick. I do tell her that she is sick and encourage her to lay down on the couch, but now she says "I'm sick" all the time, even when she is not. So that is annoying too... she thinks she is a hypocondriac. WHATEVER!

GRRRRR... so I don't think I offered a lot of advice, I just wrote a novel and griped. SORRY! :)

Megan said...

My criteria for keeping my child home is similar to Jessie's. On getting them better, a humidifier is great if they have a cold or a cough. My son is little enough that he kinda does whatever when he is sick and I have no way of keeping him down!

Tink said...

I have a friend that uses the vapo rub on the feet. She even used it on herself and says it works great, though I have yet to try it. We always run the humidifier to help loosen the yucky stuff. My doctor says no child under 6 should have cough/cold medicine, so we've been sticking to that. My kids don't seem to get colds too often, but I've taken the advice of many doctors and don't use much of the anti-bacterial stuff. That makes the immune system weaker. So I let my boys be boys and of course wash their hands when necessary, but we don't go overboard with sanitizer, etc. Also, I'm not one to keep them home unless they have a fever, vomiting, or goopy nose. Generally, they only feel like resting when they have a fever, or vomiting, which really is the only time I feel like they need a lot of rest.

Jared and Delia said...

I am going to have to try that vapo rub on the feet thing.

Good advice! I know I wrote this post but I want to add a few things:

For us...Hand washing and sanitizer is actually what has kept us as healthy as we have been. Hand washing is superior to hand sanitizer but sanitizer is what I use when hand washing isn't practical. My oldest hasn't been as sick as he is now for almost a year and my recent illnesses have all been pretty much non-germ related. I am familiar with the whole super germ debate but I think that it is more perpetuated by over-use of antibiotics.

Some things I have learned that I think might be useful are:

Zinc taken once you start to notice symptoms can help the duration and intensity of your symptoms lessen noticeably. I have tried it and it works for me anyway.

Taking extra vitamin C prophylacticly can really boost your immune system to aid prevention.

Thanks for all your advice.
I really like the standard that if you were to turn the tables and you wouldn't want your kid to be around what your kid has then don't let them out.

Roeckers said...

Having two boys with constant hay fever it is hard to tell when they are sick or struggling with a cold. We use the green/yellow snot rule as a guide. If it is clear then they are alright is it is green/yellow they stay home.

I have heard of Vapor rub on the feet but never tried it. Good to know it works for others!

MaggieBrown said...

As we know the swine flu is spread person to person, it is SO important to take a proactive approach to germ prevention. There is a great program out called Germy Wormy Germ Smart Kids. It teaches children in a mom-invented, drug-free and imaginative way the CDC recommendations (and more) to both avoid catching AND keep from spreading germs. It is effective year-round, swine flu pandemic or not!

Tannie Datwyler said...

Thank you sooooo much Maggie!!! I have the hardest time keeping my kids healthy and this might help me out! :) I was thinking of the swine flu pandemic this morning as well.

On The Go Family said...

We use the green/yellow snot rule as well. My father-in-law is an ear, nose and throat physician, and that's his golden standard for a bacterial infection. Obviously viral infections can be different ... but with my son, everything viral WILL TURN bacterial if you give it enough time. (He's getting a second set of tubes and having his adenoids removed next week after being sick CONSTANTLY since he lost his first set of tubes in January).

My other rule of thumb is "do unto others ..." I keep my kids home if I would be bothered seeing kids with the same symptoms out and about. Fevers, heavy coughs, rashes, lethargy are definite signs to keep the kids home.

As for church ... seeing sick kids in nursery isn't my favorite thing. I'm not a germ freak; I think kids need a certain level of germs to build up their immunities and I'm OK with that, but since my son's immune system is so weak, it gets frustrating. There have been many weeks this winter that we've gone to church healthy on Sunday, and then by Wednesday, we're at the doctor's office. I don't think it's a coincidence after having it happen so many times now.

One thing we've started doing with our son is taking him to sacrament meeting, but then either taking him home or keeping him in adult meetings with us. That way we can still worship without spreading all the germs.

Kelly A. said...

I feel like by the time I get around to commenting on here, what I have to say has already been shared...I guess great minds think alike :)

When keeping my daughter home I too use the rule of thumb of whether I would want her around other kids with her same symptoms. I love the specific things (symptoms) listed in the first comment and I totally agree with them.

At our house we also wash hands tons and also use a humidifier.

As for getting kids to rest when they are that possible? :) They truly do have all the energy in the world huh? There was one time when my daughter had a sinus infection and she just laid on me all day and it was SO sad! That was the one time that she was so sick that she wanted to do nothing all day. It was hard, but inevitably all kids get sick at some point.

Jared and Delia said...

This post was not meant to be in response to the swine flu but it is interesting how it coincides with it.

Since this is also National Immunization week or something like that (I heard that is was on the radio - who knew?) that is another thing to think about. BUT...let us not open that can of worms - yet anyway.

I have heard of moms who have a child that is sick constantly and they finally break down and just want to get out of the house so much (as do their kids), so they take out their sick kid to play. How do you (especially those moms who have said their kids get sick a lot) deal with that?...the cabin fever.

Tannie Datwyler said...

Cabin Fever.... If the weather is nice I will still take my kids outside, even if I don't want them to be around other people. So we read books outside or go on walks - we just don't expose anyone else to the germs. If the weather is poor, we stay in and try to have as much fun as possible here. What else can you do?

Yes, I admit that I am one of those moms that has caved and taken my kids out when they probably would have done better to stay in. But, only when they have colds. Any type of serious infection and they stay in. That has only happened once or twice with my little girl, so I am just talking from the cold veiwpoint here. It is JUST SO HARD to keep them in all the time!

I try really hard to keep them in as much as possible though, even when they have colds. Only beacuse I DESPISE having kids that are sick - especially my son who is such a horrible sleeper and the tiniest thing can set him off. So because of that I like to think of all my friends and their little ones and realize that I don't want them to be sick. That helps me to stay in as well.

I get rid of my cabin fever by leaving the house without my kids and letting my husband have a turn. That helps!

As for church... I liked the idea of taking them to church but keeping them with you in meetings (instead of sending to nursery). I've done that once or twice, but it was really hard (I didn't hear the lesson anyway because I was trying to keep a 2 year old reverent). What usually happens is that my hsuband and I switch when one or both of our kids needs to stay home from church. I'll go to a bit of the meeting and then my husband will do the rest.

Good question... I'm excited to see what others do.