How to take care of a sick child?
- by Shruti Gokarn
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However unpleasant they may be, it cannot be denied that illnesses are a part of a toddlers’ lives and fairly frequently too. While it is true that prevention is better than cure, once a child falls sick, as a parent, it is important for you to know how to take care of him or her. Let’s take a look at some common illnesses and how to take care of a child during sickness.
Cough and Cold
The common cold truly merits the epithet ‘common’. It visits us often and leaves children feeling cranky and depleted. Most coughs and cold are viral in nature and take about eight to ten days to get cured in toddlers. Starting antibiotics should be the last resort. Instead be patient. Imagine yourself when you are suffering from a cough and cold. Do you feel like eating? Keep this in mind and don’t push your child to take in solids. Instead insist that they have plenty of fluids. Watch out for these signs during a cough and cold: flushed face, quickened breathing while sleeping, flared nostrils and listlessness. If you observe these signs take your child to your pediatrician immediately.
First things first. When there is a toddler in the house, make sure that you always have a thermometer with you. If you suspect that your child has fever, check if the temperature is over 100 degrees. If that is the case, then it is time to knock on the doctor’s door. In any case sponging the body helps the temperature to come down. But what must be remembered here is to use water which is at room temperature instead of using cold water. You can also put a cool compress on your child’s head, but again with water at room temperature. Keep giving plenty of fluids; not only water, but also buttermilk of a thin consistency, juices, soups, dal of thin consistency etc.
This is one of the most common ailments in children and it is not surprising considering the habits they have at this age. Watch out for the consistency of the stools. If the stools are watery, it means it is time to call on the doctor. If not, wait for a day or two to see if it stops. The most dangerous thing is diarrhoea is the chance of dehydration occurring. The tongue is a good indicator of this. If it becomes dry, it means the child is feeling dehydrated. The importance of fluids cannot be stressed enough here. Give your child ORS at frequent intervals. You can even prepare ORS at home. In a litre of boiled and cooled water, add a spoon of sugar, half a teaspoon of salt and squeeze in a few drops of lemon. ORS is given to ensure that electrolytes do not drop. If the diarrhoea is accompanied by vomiting, immediately go to the doctor.
Till their immunity strengthens and they pick up certain habits, children are bound to fall ill. The best we can do is prepare ourselves to tackle these illnesses.
Remember – it is not necessary that your child falls sick when he or she is at home. So, it is important to ensure that you choose a preschool that has a first aid kit, offers doctor-on-call facility, and above all caring teachers and staff.