In the past month my family has had three colds, one ear infection, one bout of bronchitis, two rounds of stomach flu for the wee one and one round for me. We are simply sick of being sick. I think we are finally germ free. I think. I hope. I pray. I beg. I might just avoid every play date for a month to be sure.
We’re sure hoping Punxsutawney Phil was right, and spring (and an end to flu season) is on its way. Flu.gov reports the seasonal flu usually peaks in January/February– but be prepared– it can last as late as May.
I’m grateful we’ve been spared the seasonal flu so far this winter.
The Rotavirus/Norovirus (the most common stomach flu culprits) are still contagious for three days to two weeks AFTER you’ve recovered. Which is probably why you got sick in the first place. We all know (or are) those friends who take their kid back to the gym/playgroup/storytime/church the DAY AFTER they finish throwing up. Try your best to not be that person, and just take it easy at home for a couple days if at all possible.
With that said, here’s my arsenal for surviving the sickies. I’ve concluded there’s nothing worse than being confined in a home with a whiny, sick, feverish, throwing up little thing– who can’t communicate to you what she’s thinking or feeling.
- Find a T.V. Marathon: When dealing with an ear infection and cold a couple weeks ago, my husband and I confined ourselves to evenings of watching the remainder of Downton Abbey Season 3. When the stomach flu hit, we caught up on Top Chef.
- Go for a Walk: If the weather is as beautiful where you are as it has been here, get outside. Fresh air can be the best medicine for a headache from a crying, whining baby. I wouldn’t recommend taking your little one with you if they’ve vommited in the last two or three hours– but getting fresh air in the winter is actually known to help keep you healthier. If you are too afraid of leaving the home territory, open your window and let some fresh air in.
- Stock up on the Essentials: Saltine crackers, Chex Cereal, pretzel Goldfish and Apple Juice have been our go-to snacks lately. While my kid usually goes through a “Club Pack” of frozen peas in a week, she didn’t touch them at all during this last bout of stomach flu. We’ve also done six loads of laundry and have gone through more diapers than I care to count in just the past few days. I’m glad we had plenty of detergent, wipes, diaper rash cream, lotion, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and diapers at our house– talk about emergency preparedness.
- Bed Time: Go to bed as close to when your kid does as you can. When she fell asleep at 6:30 p.m., while I was making dinner. Obviously I didn’t hit the hay then, but I wished I would have when she woke up at 8 p.m., 3 a.m., and 5:30 a.m. I joked with my husband it was like having a newborn again, but honestly, it kind of was.
- Find a Hobby: Pinterest has been like a long lost friend in the past month. When I was sick it was all I could do to lie on the couch while Disney Junior entertained my 19-month-old and scroll through pins. Writing in my journal has happened more regularly in the past month as compared to the past year. I think I might take up sewing for the first time in a year if we end up sick again. Find something that can take your mind off of the stress of hearing your little one cough, and wondering if it’s just a cough… or something worse.
- Got the Flu?: Check out these tips. They had me at Dracula Cough.
- Call the Doctor: Don’t be afraid of being “that mom.” You know, the paranoid one, calling the doc about every runny nose, fever, or sleepless night. It could just end up being what saves your sanity. Even if they tell you to use the saline drops, elevate the head of the crib and call back in a day or two. That call will at least ease your mind to know you’re doing what you’re supposed to, in order to get your tot it tip top shape again.
- And Remember: At the end of the sickies, your kid will likely survive none the worse for wear, and you’ll be on your toes again chasing them away from destruction and terror. Enjoy the slower pace and cuddles in bed– even if you’re accompanied by a mountain of used tissues and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
More Winter Fun
- Check out a local story time at the library
- Take a walk at Theodore Roosevelt Island
- Take a day trip out of the city
- Check out a Smithsonian Exhibit before it’s gone