From Sniffles to Smiles: Sick Day Strategies for Parents

Dec 6, 2023 | Children's Health

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It’s natural to worry when your child comes down with the cold, flu or other seasonal respiratory bug that’s going around. 

While these illnesses are usually not dangerous in otherwise healthy children, it’s still difficult to see your little one feeling miserable. The good news is there are many supportive things you can do at home to help your child feel more comfortable while their immune system fights off the infection. 

Jeanne Pipsair, PA, pediatric physician assistant at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health Pediatrics at St. Francisville, shares her top tips for providing that extra bit of TLC. 

Stay Calm and Rest

As hard as it is to see your active child suddenly down for the count, the best prescription is lots of rest. Fevers, body aches, sore throats and similar symptoms are the immune system’s way of signaling the body to slow down. 

This means relaxing the activity level — no busy play dates or sports practices. Make your home a calm, quiet and boring place. Offer the comfort of the couch, cozy blankets and lots of cuddling.  

Hydration and Nutrition 

Keep sick little bodies hydrated by offering sips of water, juice, ice pops and frozen fruit smoothies. Don’t worry if they’re eating less solid foods than normal—nausea can be common. Stick to simple bland foods like toast, rice, applesauce and plain chicken noodle soup. Mostly, give them what they feel up to eating without forcing food.  

Over-the-Counter Comfort 

Children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help ease aches and pains that come with colds and flu. Download our ibuprofen and acetaminophen dosing guide to know the right dose for your child.

Saline nose drops, humidifiers, cough syrups, vapor rubs and chest rubs can also bring symptom relief. Never give aspirin to children as it carries a risk for a rare but dangerous illness.  

Call the Doctor If …

While most seasonal bugs run their course without complications, do check in with your child’s primary care provider if symptoms are severe or worrisome. Seek medical care for difficulty breathing, dehydration, signs of ear infection or if fever lasts more than three days. 

Our health system makes it easy to connect with your child’s provider with MyChart, including video visit options. Describe symptoms in detail to get personalized guidance from an exceptional provider.

With lots of comfort and patience, seasonal illnesses usually resolve on their own within a couple weeks. Use these supportive strategies to help ease symptoms — the snuggles don’t hurt either! Stay healthy this season.

Connect with an exceptional pediatric provider:

Find a pediatric provider in Baton Rouge

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Find a pediatric provider in Bogalusa.

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