Fall is upon us. I'm a big fan of autumn. The cooler air, sweaters, burnished colors popping out all over the place, it's my favorite time of the year. It is also the harbinger of the cold and flu season. Perhaps you've already started. I was reminded that the season is coming by the very scratchy throat I woke up with this morning.
Usually I am caught off guard when someone wakes in the night sniffling, coughing or puking. I never seem to have the supplies on hand to provide some comfort or care to the people I love. So I am in the process of making up a cupboard of supplies that will help us through the illnesses and viruses that generally come our way when the weather gets colder and we start participating in more group activities.
First off I must say that the best defense against germs is handwashing. When I first had Ryan, so many years ago, my pediatrician (who is still our doctor God bless her) told me all good mothers have dry skin on the hands from washing them all day long. I have a habit of washing my hands very often, and I keep a nice handcream by the sink. I also insist that the children wash their hands often, particularly when we come in from somewhere. I really does help. Another good idea is daily vitamin C and Elderberry Syrup both of which boost the immune system in a rather painless matter. I decided many years ago that Cod Liver Oil isn't worth the screaming.
So this is what I have in preparation:
- Hot water bottle – this is so soothing for tummy aches or when someone is achy.
- Chamomile tea – again, very soothing and can calm a fussy kid. Brew it strong and add some apple or orange juice for flavor if necessary.
- Ginger tea – very good for upset tummys. A little honey or agave to temper the spiciness. If the child is very nauseous try spooning it in a little bit at a time.
- Ginger Ale – soda is generally off limits for this house other than a party. I remember my mother giving us flat ginger ale when we were sick and it just making me feel better.
- Vicks Vapor Rub – weirdly, if you rub this on the soles of a coughing child's feet and cover with socks, they stop coughing. I'm not kidding, it works. I read it on Pinterest last year and in a moment of desperation tried it. Kevin stopped coughing about 15 minutes after I applied the goo. It's now a staple in our arsenal.
- Cool mist vaporizer
- Saline spray
- An old fashioned ice pack - so nice for feverish, achy heads. Also nice for bumps and bruises.
- OTC pain reliever. We use Tylenol and/or Children's Motrin. Arnica pills are also effective but they won't quiet a fever. I usually ride out a fever without medicine unless the child is really suffering. I like to give the body an opportunity to work the way it is designed to however, sometimes a little relief is needed.
- Paper towels. Even if you aren't a paper towel person when there is a virus in the house, particularly a flu, disposable is the way to go. Better safe than sorry. Same with tissues.
- Hand sanitizer, for the sick room. Use going in and coming out.
- Disinfectant wipes to thoroughly wipe door knobs, faucets, the toilet (don't forget the handle), light switches, whenever the sick one moves around. This is very important if it is indeed the flu.
- Homemade chicken broth. I make and freeze in jars (leave space at the top for expansion) and can whip up some nutritious soup pretty quickly. Star shaped pasta or rice makes it more special.
So that's my basic list. I would love to hear your suggestions or how you prepare for the upcoming sniffle season.
Have a lovely evening.